By: PATRICK TITUS, Uyo
Significant strides can be recorded in the fight against Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDS) in Akwa Ibom State if relevant bodies combine force to stamp it out, wife of the governor, Patience Umo Eno has said.
Patience named these relevant bodies to include Non-Governmental Organisations, the academia, governments and other relevant stakeholders.
She stated this on Thursday, during of the First NTDs Stakeholders’ Summit tagged “Enhancing Domestic Resource Mobilizations Towards Sustaining the Control and Elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases in Akwa Ibom State”, which was organised in Uyo, by the State Ministry of Health in partnership with Helen Keller International.
The governor’s wife who was the Special Guest, encouraged mothers to take seriously the de-worming of their children, assured the organisers of the event of her constant support whenever the need arises.
“Our collective knowledge and expertise will be vital in shaping a future where these diseases no longer pose significant threats to human life and well-being”.
“Let us foster an environment of open-mindedness, empathy and knowledge sharing, recognising the importance of multidisciplinary approaches and the involvement of various stakeholders, including government, the academia, NGOs, and the private sector so that significant strides can be recorded in the fight against Neglected Tropical Diseases,” she noted.
While thanking organisers of the event for putting the summit together, Pastor Patience Eno expressed confidence that the meeting would prompt stakeholders to take meaningful measures in stopping the spread of NTDs.
The Commissioner for Health, Prof. Augustine Umoh in his address stated that the summit is apt underscoring the need to raise awareness and draw greater attention towards NTDs noting that the diseases are hardly heard about but sadly, they are prevalent and pose serious health challenges in the state.
Prof. Umoh said the Ministry of Health in partnership with Helen Keller International have recorded over 314 free surgeries across the three Senatorial District in the state in the last 3 years while assuring government continuous commitment to the well-being of Akwa Ibom people. He however called for partnership from stakeholders from all sectors towards financing and the elimination of these NTDs in the state.
Earlier, Akwa Ibom State Coordinator, NTDs Control and Elimination Programme, Dr. Aniekeme Uwah said the essence of the Summit was to provide an opportunity for stakeholders to “take a cursory look at how solutions could be proffered to the myriads of challenges confronting the implementation of control and elimination strategies through the identification of gaps, areas of partnership and opportunities for domestic resource mobilization (DRM) to help the most vulnerable population affected by NTDs, which has led to stigmatization, untold hardship and suffering.”
Furthermore, Dr Uwah said the resolutions reached at the end of the Summit will aid the achievement of the goals of the economic blue print of the state government as contained in the Arise Agenda especially poverty deduction, improved standard of living and highly educated healthy and skilled populace.
He expressed appreciation to the Governor’s Wife for honouring the invitation in person and called on stakeholders to partner with the Akwa Ibom State Ministry of Health towards meeting the global 2030 target of 90% reduction in the number of people required for treatment for neglected tropical disease and elimination.
The Head of Programmes, Helen Keller International, Mohammed Aliyu in a goodwill message said they are present in 12 states in Nigeria with huge investments in curbing NTDs in the country and as well pledged his organisation’s commitment to sponsoring more surgical operations.
Highpoint of the event was the conferment of Grand Ambassador of NTDs on the Governors wife by the Federal Ministry of Health, as well as testimonies by beneficiaries of various medical interventions carried out by the NTDs team in Akwa Ibom State.