Lagos Govt Set To Investigate Prevalence Of Neglected Tropical Diseases


*Nigeria records 25% burden


Lagos State Government has disclosed  plans to assess the prevalence of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), including Lymphomatic Filariasis and Onchocerciasis, in its communities.

The assessment of NTDs burden will be conducted in 20 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the state as part of the ongoing efforts for the treatment and elimination of the tropical ailments in the state.

The State’s Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, announced the plan on Monday after an awareness walk organized jointly  by the State Ministry of Health and a non-governmental organization (NGO), Mission to Save the Helpless (MITOSATH), to commemorate Year 2023 World Neglected Tropical Disesses Day in Lagos State.

Abayomi explained that the assessment which is scheduled to begin in February will lead to targeted treatments of NTDs where necessary in line with World Health Organization’s (WHO) NTD elimination road map.

 “In view of Year 2023 World Neglected Tropical Diseases Day theme, ‘Act Now, Act Together, Invest in Elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases’, Lagos State would like to assess the prevalence of other NTDs including Lymphatic Filariasis and Onchocerciasis, which is set to commence in early February in 14 LGAs for Onchocerciasis and six LGAs for Lymphatic Filariasis,” the health commissioner said.

Abayomi was represented at the event by the Director of Epidemiology, Biosecurity and Global Health, Dr. Ismail Abdus-Salam.

The commissioner for health explained that WHO recognized 30th of January every year as World NTD Day because of the impact of NTDs and the growing concern of their burden of risk on national and global economies over the past few decades.

He said that Nigeria accounts for 25 per cent of Africa’s NTD burden.

The commissioner said that millions of people worldwide are affected and more at risk of NTDs due to prevalent societal neglect and lack of basic amenities such as water, sanitation, hygiene and healthcare waste management facilities.

“Neglected Tropical Diseases are a group of conditions that affect more than a billion people who mostly live in marginalized, rural, poor urban areas and conflict zones. 

“Although they are preventable and treatable, these diseases and their intricate interrelationships with poverty and ecological systems continue to cause devastating health, social and economic consequences.

“True to the name, Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) seldom receive the attention they warrant. In order to end this neglect, the 74th World Health Assembly declared January 30th as ‘World Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) Day”, Abayomi stated.

Speaking on the intervention and efforts of the Lagos State Government to control and eliminate NTDs, the Commissioner disclosed that the State government through the Ministry of Health in collaboration with WHO, Federal Ministry of Health and MITOSATH successfully completed treatment to prevent Schistosomiasis in nine endemic LGAs of Lagos in 2022, adding that over 350,000 School-aged children (SAC) successfully received treatment for the disease.

“Lagos has won several awards amongst which, was the award of an outstanding performance for being the first state to implement Schistosomiasis ward level treatment in line with the new WHO guideline”, he said.

Speaking in the same vein, the Executive Director of MITOSATH, Dr. Francesca Olamiju said MITOSATH has continued and will continue to collaborate with Lagos State Government and other relevant governmental and non-governmental in pursuance of the objective of NTDs control and elimination.

Olamiju who was represented by the Assistant Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, MITOSTAH, Ms Chimdinma Okoronkwo, explained that MITOSATH collaborated with Federal Ministry of Health, Lagos State Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization to implement the first ward level strategy of Mass Administration of Medicines against Schistosomiasis adding that MITOSATH has also hosted dissemination workshops to afford stakeholders and partners the opportunity to share knowledge, best practices and lessons from implementation of NTD prevention, control and elimination exercise in Lagos State.

She noted that MITOSATH is also ready to collaborate with NTD Programme Unit of the Lagos State Ministry of Health, the Federal Ministry of Health and WHO to assess the prevalence of Lymphatic Filariasis and Onchocerciasis in 20 LGAs of Lagos State.

Appealing for private sector engagement for elimination of NTDs, the Executive Director stated that all hands must be on deck to eliminate NTDs in Lagos and Nigeria. “Together we can eliminate NTDs in Lagos and Nigeria at large”, she said.


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