We treated over 4.7 million people on NTDs in 2022 — Anambra govt

The Anambra State Government in partnership with the Carter Centre said it treated over 4.7 million people of the four major Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), in the state in the year 2022.

The State Commissioner for Health, Dr Afam Obidike, gave the statistics at a news conference on NTDs Interventions to mark the 2023 World NTDs Day, in Awka on Thursday.

Nigerian Tribune gathered that this year’s commemoration had the theme – ‘Act Now, Act Together, Invest in Elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases’.

Speaking further, Obidike identified  Onchocerciasis known as River Blindness, Lymphatic Filariasis also known as  Elephantiasis, Schistosomiasis and Soil-Transmitted Helminthiasis (STH), as the NTDs endemic in the state.

He described NTDs as preventable communicable diseases prevalent in areas with poor sanitation, inadequate safe water supply and sub-standard housing conditions.

According to him, The diseases are considered neglected because they enjoy little funding, are almost absent from the global health agenda and are associated with stigma and social exclusion.

“Over six million individuals in the state are at risk of being infected with one or more types of NTDs and 80 per cent are targeted annually to receive preventive chemotherapy against the diseases.

“In 2020, 1.2 million persons were treated, 3.1 million persons were treated in 2021 and a total of 4,768,342 persons were treated in 2022.

“In partnership with the Carter Centre,  2,867 health workers were trained in 2022, on the detection, treatment, management and prevention of NTDs. Today every prevailing NTD in the state is currently receiving public health attention.

The Commissioner said that Gov. Chukwuma Soludo’s administration invested in NTDs programmes to scale up sensitisation in endemic communities.

He, however, urged residents to support the government’s efforts by sleeping under a treated mosquito net,  reporting cases of Elephantiasis to the nearest health centre and assisting in searching fast-flowing rivers for Blackfly control.

Also speaking, Mrs Egeonu Attamah-Isiani, Anambra state Programme Officer, at the Carter Centre, said the centre had been

in partnering with the state since 1995 to control and eliminate NTDs.

“We have been providing technical and financial supporting to the state, facilitating capacity building, drugs provision and distribution to interrupt NTDs transmission,” she said.

In his brief remarks, Prof. Dennis Aribodor of the Parasitology and Public Health Society of Nigeria urged the state government to invest and partner with the society in the area of research and data gathering on NTDs.

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