Approximately three million people in Ogun State, including 1.4 million children of school age risk of being hit by Neglected Tropical Diseases(NTDs), the state government has revealed.
The Commissioner for Health, Dr. Tomi Coker, who disclosed this in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, said several thousands of people were already battling with complications arising from NTDs.
Coker identified Leprosy, Onchocerciasis, Lymphatic Filariasis, Schistosomiasis, Soil transmitted Helminthes and Buruli Ulcer(Skin ulcer) as the endemic NTDs in 18 of the 20 Local Government Areas in Ogun state.
Speaking at a press briefing preparatory to the commemoration of this year’s edition of World NTDs Day which is globally slated for every January 30, the Health Commissioner said NTDs are a group of infectious diseases associated with poverty.
She said that about 1.5 billion individuals across 149 countries were affected by NTDs with 40% of them found in sub – Saharan Africa and a quarter of that figure being found in Nigeria.
According to her, these diseases present a huge burden on the sufferers, with many of them developing disabilities with the attendant negative socioeconomic consequences.
Coker said there would be sensitization in schools and communities as well as awareness walk across the state to mark the 2020 World NTDs Day themed, “Beat NTDs: For Good For All.”
Highlighting the achievements recorded by the state government in combating the diseases, she said that the State NTDs programme had treated 780, 657 school – age children in 6000 schools in 2019 and trained 8,500 teachers on NTDs within the same period.
She also disclosed that 2,874,380 people across the state’s 18 endemic LGAs, were treated in 2018 with support from UNICEF while 5000 community directed distributors were also trained on NTDs within the period in focus.