*Says untreated NTDs can lead to disability, death
By; BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan
Oyo State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Oluwaserimi Ajetunmobi on Friday, disclosed that the state government is ready to control, eliminate and eradicate Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) .
Dr Ajetunmobi who said this in Ibadan while addressing journalists at a press briefing on 2024 World NTD Day held at the Conference Room of the Ministry of Health, Agodi, Ibadan, hinted that NTDs if not properly treated could lead to disability and stigmatization hence, there is need for serious awareness on the diseases from all the critical stakeholders.
According to Dr. Ajetunmobi, Neglected Tropical Diseases are group of diseases that are largely found in tropical areas of the world, particularly in area where access to clean water sanitation and essential medicine is scarce, saying, “NTDs if untreated, could lead to disability and stigmatization. Onchocerciasis (River Blindness) if not treated could lead to loss of sight, while Schistosomiasis (SCH) and Soil Transmitted Helminthes (STH) can result in anaemia.
” The long-term effects of some NTDs can be catastrophic, which can lead to loss of life. The devastating effects of NTDs on our people cannot be over emphasized, hence the need for all to come together to combat the diseases”, she said
Dr Ajetunmobi added, ” Our action is to raise the profile of NTDs, the suffering they cause and to gather support towards their control, elimination and eradication, in-line with programmatic targets set out in the World Health Organization (WHO) 2023 NTD road map which includes decreasing the number of people requiring intervention for NTDs by 90 per cent”.
The Commissioner stressed that Oyo State Government has embarked on proactive measures through innovation and intensify disease management, preventive chemotherapy by distributing anthelmintic medicines, mass drug administration of praziquantel to school aged children, vector control through mass spraying of insecticides, veterinary public health, provision of safe water, sanitation and hygiene, among others.
“This year, the world NTD Day theme seeks to continue the momentum from previous years and carry through the thread of taking NTDs out of isolation, identifying opportunities for integrated action on NTDs and the continued call for investment in NTDs. NTDs programmes strengthen health systems by increasing access to hard-to-reach people and training community health workers who provide a first line primary healthcare, everyone has a key role to play by bringing renewed attention to NTDs, building political will and mobilizing resources and putting individuals and communities at the center of the response.
” We can collectively generate the attention and resources needed to deliver against the elimination of NTDs in Oyo state, that is the reason why Oyo state government also joins the global community to celebrate the 2024 world NTD Day.”
Executive Secretary of the state Primary Healthcare Board, Dr. Muideen Babatunde Olatunji while speaking, said the state government has been playing a central role in implementing policies, allocating resources and coordinating efforts to control and eliminate these diseases in the state.
According to Dr Olatunji in 2023 alone, Oyo State Government release over N27 million to support NTDs programme activities in the state, including drug distribution, public awareness campaigns among other activities.
“The NTD unit of Oyo state Primary Health Care Board is saddled with the responsibility of carrying out all the control strategies through safe and cost-effective preventive chemotherapy (PCT) in collaboration with the willing NGOs.”