The Kwara state Government has reaffirmed its commitment towards eliminating Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) in the state by 2020.
The state Commissioner for Health, Alhaji Sulaiman Atolagbe Alege stated this yesterday while declaring NTDs State Technical Advisory committee quarterly meeting open, at the state ministry of health Ilorin.
Alege who spoke through director of medical services and training, Dr Zeenat Saadu said the meeting aimed to eliminate blinding Trachoma and other neglected diseases in the state.
He said, "it is pertinent to note that stakeholders in and outside the health professionals have chosen to gather here to deliberate on how to eliminate the Neglected Tropical Diseases in the country.
According to him, the state Advisory Committee will principally support all processes that would lead to the elimination of all known NTDs in the state by 2020.
He urged all participants to work as a team and cooperate with the supporting partners for the success of the programme.
Earlier in his remark, the state NTDs programme coordinator, pastor Folorunsho Oyinloye explained that NDs were poverty related and degenerating diseases, they include diseases such as trachoma, leprosy, buruli ulcer, elephantiasis, soil transmitted helminthes, schistosomiasis and river blindness among others, which our government has launched a robust and integrated multi-year national plan to control and eliminate the disease in the country by 2020.
"The disease can be treated and prevented but the disease is known to affect the poorest, most marginalized, and most remote communities in the world. They thrive where access to potable water, sanitation and hygiene, healthcare and good housing conditions are limited or even totally lacking. Their impact on individual and communities can be devastating many of them cause severe disfiguration and disabilities," he said.
Oyinloye noted that over billion of people in the world are affected with NTDs out of which 122 million people are estimated to be at risk in Nigeria while about 1.5 million Kwarans are at the risk out of 2.9 million population.
He stated that all the 16 local government in Kwara state were epidemics to river blindness and onchocerciasis, saying that Ilorin west was endemic to onchocerciasis followed by Baruten and Irepolodun local government of the state.
According to him, to be able to reduce this scourge in the state and other states in Nigeria, there must be conscious efforts by the government, stakeholders and health bodies to scale up interventions, funding and increase technical capacity.
He said that there was need for the state to take ownership of the programme and embark on the training and retraining of health care providers in this aspect in order to reduce endemic in the state.
"The battle to eliminate the NTDs in our view, must be led by affected locals, according to him, to be able to reduce this scourge in Nigeria and other African countries, there must be conscious efforts by the government, stakeholders and health bodies to scale up interventions, funding and increase technical capacity.
Oyinloye described NTDs as a group of parasitic and bacterial infectious diseases that cause severe pain, long-term, disability, social isolation, Anaemia and maternal mortality. “In children, NTDs lead to malnutrition, cognitive impairment, stunted growth and the inability to attend school by the children."
He called on stakeholders to play a leading role in tackling the scourge in the state. "We experience the bigger burden of the disease in Nigeria, hence we must put all measures on ground to solve the issue because NTDs are becoming a growing concern which must be tackled holistically.
Also in his remark, representative of leprosy Terver Anyor said the state aimed to reduce the incidence of leprosy and support mainstreaming of persons affected by leprosy into society
He stated that the state also strives to improve functionality and prevent disabilities due to leprosy and as well stop transmission through easy case detection and treatment.