Yesterday, January 30 was World Neglected Tropical Diseases Day is a day to promote awareness of and secure resources for neglected tropical diseases (NTDs)–a diverse group of conditions that are widespread in the world’s poorest regions, where water safety, sanitation and access to health care are substandard.
NTDs are a group of 20 preventable and treatable diseases that place a heavy burden on over 1.7 billion people around the world. This includes parasitic diseases like Chagas disease, bacterial diseases like trachoma and viral diseases like dengue.
In Nigeria, officials announced that the country is endemic for 14 of the 20 neglected tropical diseases, stating that 120 million Nigerians are at risk for contracting the NTDs.
A statement by the acting Director of Information for the Federal Ministry of Health said, “Nigeria is currently endemic to 14 NTDs; we have successfully eradicated guinea worm. The diseases we are still battling with include lymphatic filariasis, soil transmitted helminthiasis, onchocerciasis, trachoma (granular conjunctivitis) and schistosomiasis (bilharzia).”
Others are rabies, leprosy, yaws, snakebites, leishmaniasis, Human African Trypanosomiasis, mycetoma and fascioliasis.
“The target of the government is to eliminate all the preventable NTDs and ensure the effective control of case management of the NTDs on or before 2030 by mapping of the endemic areas with some of these diseases in all the 774 LGAs in the country, and putting in place policies and guidelines to guide all stakeholders etc.”