Over 350,000 Children Receive Treatment for Schistosomiasis – Abayomi

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May be an image of 9 people, people standing, outdoors and text that says 'Wel NTD Jolk TDs Lagos State Ministry Of Health Conjunction With Mission To Save The ielpless (MITOSATH) Colebrates 2023 WORLD NEGLECTED TROPICAL DISEASES(NTDs) DAY Therne # Act Now #Act Together #Invest In Elimination of NTDs MONDAY, 30TH JANUARY, 2023'

The Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, on Wednesday, revealed that as part of the Lagos State Government's involvement and efforts to control and eradicate neglected tropical diseases NTDs, more than 350,000 School-Age Children (SAC) have successfully received treatment for Schistosomiasis disease.

Abayomi made the disclosure following a walk to raise awareness for the 2023 World NTD Day in Lagos State, which was organised by the State Ministry of Health and the nonprofit Mission to Save the Helpless (MITOSATH).

“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.

He also noted that in 2022, the state government, through the Ministry of Health, successfully concluded treatment to prevent Schistosomiasis in nine endemic LGAs of Lagos.

The commissioner further states that as part of ongoing efforts to treat and eradicate the diseases in Lagos, the Lagos State Government has finalised plans to conduct an assessment of the prevalence of some neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), such as Lymphatic Filariasis and Onchocerciasis, in 20 Local Government areas of the state.

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He explained that the assessment which is scheduled to commence in February will lead to targeted treatments of NTDs where necessary in line with World Health Organisation’s NTD elimination road map.

“In view of the 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,” he said.

Abayomi, who was represented by the Director of Epidemiology, Biosecurity, and Global Health, Dr Ismail Abdus-Salam, stated that due to the impact of NTDs and the rising concern over its burden of risk on national and global economies over the past few decades, WHO recognised January 30 of each year as World NTD Day.

The commissioner stated that while Nigeria contributes 25 per cent of Africa's NTD burden, millions of people globally are afflicted and more at risk of NTDs because of pervasive societal neglect and a lack of essential utilities including water, sanitation, hygiene, and healthcare waste management facilities.

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His words, “Neglected Tropical Diseases are a group of conditions affecting more than a billion people who mostly live in marginalised, 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.

In the same vein, Dr Francesca Olamiju, executive director of MITOSATH, stated that MITOSATH would continue to engage with the Lagos State Government and other relevant governmental and non-governmental organizations to achieve the goal of NTD control and elimination.

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Olamiju, who was represented by Ms. Chimdinma Okoronkwo, MITOSTAH's assistant monitoring and evaluation officer, explained that MITOSATH collaborated with the Federal Ministry of Health, the Lagos State Ministry of Health, and the World Health Organisation to implement the first ward-level strategy of Mass Administration of Medicines against Schistosomiasis, and that MITOSATH has also hosted dissemination workshops to give stakeholders and partners the opportunity to share knowledge, best practices and lessons from the implementation of NTD prevention, control and elimination exercise in Lagos State.

She noted that MITOSATH is also ready to collaborate with the 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 the 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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