YOBE, Nigeria – Insecurity, inadequate funding and the COVID-19 pandemic have been identified as some of the challenges slowing down the fight against Neglected Tropical Diseases in Yobe State.
Executive Secretary, Yobe State Primary Healthcare Management Board, Dr. Babagana Kundi Machina disclosed this at an event marking the 2021 World Neglected Tropical Disease Day in Damaturu.
He described Neglected Tropical Diseases, (NTDs), as communicable diseases associated with poverty and prevalent in areas that have poor sanitation, inadequate or no safe water sources and substandard housing conditions.
“The NTDs are estimated to affect over one billion people in the world, the majority of whom are living in developing countries.
“In Nigeria, it is estimated that 190 million persons are at risk of one or more of these NTDs”, he noted.
According to Dr. Machina, the commonest NTDs in Nigeria are Lymphatic Filariasis, Onchocerciasis (river blindness), Schistosomiasis, Soil-Transmitted Helminths, Human African Trypanosomiasis, Leprosy, Buruli Ulcer, Snakebite, Dengue fever and Rabies among others.
He said the NTDs are endemic in Nigeria with children most at risk of Schistosomiasis and Soil-Transmitted Helminthes.
In Yobe State, the Executive Secretary pointed out that Neglected Tropical Diseases are endemic in all the 17 local government areas of the state.
“Yobe state is reported to have the highest prevalence of Trachoma diseases in Nigeria causing blindness”, he stated.
Through collaborations with some development partners, Machina explained that last year alone 1,430 people across the state have undergone cataract surgery while 450 others underwent trachoma trichiasis surgery.
On challenges militating the elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases in the state, the Executive Secretary of the Board highlighted that insecurity remains a major issue, as it makes some endemic communities inaccessible for intervention.
He said other challenges include inadequate funding, the delay caused COVID-19 pandemic with regards to program implementation as well as the lack of office accommodation to properly coordinate NTDs control programs among others.
The 2021 World Neglected Tropical Diseases Day is the second to be celebrated the world over.
This year’s theme is, seek to end the neglect and beat NTDs.