By; Sani Aliyu, Zaria.
A Non Governmental Organization, Sight Savers has said it had taken fight against five neglected diseases to the grassroots through traditional rulers and religious leaders to effectively achieve set goals.
Dr AbdulKadir Isa-Randagi, the Programme Manager, Kaduna State Neglected Tropical Diseases Control, stated this in an interview with Journalists shortly after a visit on the Emir of Zazzau, Alhaji Shehu Idris in his Palace in Zaria on Thursday.
He said the diseases included; Onchocerciasis (River Blindness), Lymphatic Filariasis (Elephanthiatis), Schistosomiasis (Bilharzia), Soil Transmitted Helnicathes (Intestinal Worms) and Trachoma (Blinding Eye Disease).
According to him the essence of involving traditional institutions was to penetrate the grassroots and reach out to people directly.
He said the diseases mostly affect the rural community especially the poor, saying, “Mostly these diseases are found in rural communities in tropical areas and are neglected.”
Dr.Isa-Randagi said that 15 Local Government Areas in Kaduna State were found to be endemic for onchocerciasis and 18 were found to be endemic for lymphatic filariasis while all the 23 local government areas were endemic for schistosomiasis.
The medical doctor appealed to the general public to give the programme the necessary support it deserves in order to succeed.
Also in an interview, Dr Ado Zakari-Mohammed, Director, Public Health, Ministry of Health and Human Services, Kaduna State, said the diseases were initially called neglected because little attention was given to them.
Dr. Ado said recently, for the past ten years, the World Health Organisation (WHO) reviews the cases of the diseases and those affected and realised that millions of people have been affected all over the world.
“These diseases are causing a lot of disability and death to these group of people and called for the attention of all member nations to look into the issue of neglected tropical diseases and do something about it,” he said.
Earlier, the Emir, Alhaji Shehu Idris thanked the entourage for the visit and promised to mobilise and enlighten traditional institutions under Zazzau Emirate on the need to actively support the programme.
“We are certain that these programme is very vital and will go a long way in assisting our people, we remain grateful to you all.”
By; Sani Aliyu, Zaria.