The Kwara Government has stated that no fewer than two million people living in the state were at risk of contracting one or two of the over 20 Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that NTDs include dengue, lymphatic filariasis, trachoma, and leishmaniasis, which are called “neglected,” because they generally afflict the world’s poor and have not received as much attention as other diseases.
Dr Abubakar Ayinla, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health, made the assertion during a stakeholders meeting held to commemorate Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) Day.
The meeting, which was held in collaboration with Sightsavers, a Non-Governmental Organisation, was to sensitise the people of the state to the risk of contracting NTDs. Dr Abubakar said that the NTDs Day, like other specially dedicated days, was used as opportunity to sensitize the public and draw attention of policymakers to thematic issues around such days.
Dr Abubakar said the day was about issues throwing the health of all citizens especially as it concerns some group of neglected diseases in the tropics.
Ayinla added that ‘the feat attained in healthcare for the past one year in spite of Covid-19, was also worthy of being showcased at this time. He said that the state government’s health intervention through free surgical services to all local government areas had addressed both the backlog and large pool of patients suffering from hydrocoele.
The permanent secretary added that hydrocoele was often a consequence of one of the NTDs called Filariasis.
According to Dr Abubakar, the state government under Gov. AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq had supported over 777 cases. Ayinla said that one of the Sen. Umar Sadiq, representing the Kwara North Senatorial District, had also supported 200 additional cases in Kwara North, where access to health care was strategically being upscale.
The permanent secretary added that government had also provided anti-snake venom for free administration to patients who had snake bite.
Earlier, the Programme Manager for NTDs in the state, Dr. Peter Oyinloye, said the NTDs unit appreciated the support of the state government and its major partners, especially the Sightsavers. Dr. Peter said that the unit was working assiduously to ensure mass distribution of river blindness medication in the state to children of ages five to 14 years.
Also speaking, the representative of the Sightsavers, Mr Olalekan Ajayi expressed delight in working as a partner with the NTDs unit of the Public health department. Ajayi described the state government’s funding of free surgical interventions as a means of taking ownership of the Kwara/Partners initiatives. He also expressed optimism that Kwara State would be free of NTDs by year 2030.