BAUCHI, Nigeria – About 15 people have been hit by a strange disease causing swelling of the legs at Bara village in Kirfi Local Government Area of Bauchi State.
This was revealed to journalists in Bauchi on Monday by the Executive Chairman of the Bauchi State Primary Health Care Development Agency (BASPHCDA), Dr. Rilwanu Mohammed, at a press briefing to commemorate this year’s World Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) Day.
Mohammed informed that the agency got to know about the strange disease late Sunday evening when it got a report about the occurrence at the village, located on the Bauchi-Gombe highway.
The BASPHCDA boss said that officials of the agency had been immediately deployed in the village to find out what was happening, adding that as soon as the team came up with its findings, the agency would take action to curb the disease.
“I have directed the disease control department of the agency to mobilize to the village to find out what the problem is. We are suspecting Onchocerciasis or Lymphatic Filariasis, considering that the local government is one of the LGAs that have the cases of those tropical diseases.
“As soon as we get the results of the investigation, we will take prompt action to curb it,” Dr Mohammed said.
Speaking on the NTDs, he informed that Bauchi State had over one million people suffering from the neglected tropical disease, adding that the global figure stood at over one billion people.
According to him, the NTDs included onchocerciasis, lymphatic filariasis, soil transmitted helminths, trachoma, chistosomiasis, buruli ulcer, snake bite, leprosy, human African tryphanomiasis, Guinea worm, yaws and loiasis.
Dr Mohammed revealed as of now, the state had onchocerciasis in 12 LGAs; lymphatic filariasis in 11 LGAs; Chistosomiasis in 16 LGAs, trachoma in two LGAs.
While saying that Guinea worm had already been eradicated throughout Nigeria, the BASPHCDA boss declared that with good sanitation and proper hygiene, the diseases could be checked in the country.
He noted that the state was working in collaboration with the United Nations Children Education Fund (UNICEF) and a local nongovernmental organisation (NGO), Mission To Save the Helpless (MITOSATH) for the morbidity management and prevention of the NTDs in the state.
Mohammed further revealed that the state was making progress in eliminating tropical diseases in the state, declaring that, “generally, the state is making progress on elimination of this preventive chemotherapy NTDs as Oncho is about to be eliminated in the state.”
According to him, three epidemiological surveys had been carried out in the state, adding that while two were successful, results of the third were being awaited.
“Transmission Assessment Survey for Trachoma was carried out in Shira and Tafawa Balewa LGAs and were successful.”
He said that pre-transmission assessment survey was done in Giade; Bogoro; Tafawa Balewa and Itas/Gadau LGAs in 2018 and 2019 during which only Bogoro failed, while for 2020, Misau, Warji and Bogoro would be done this February.
While advising the people of the state to imbibe the habit of healthy living, the BASPHCDA Executive Secretary told them to always keep their environment clean with a view to minimizing the risk of getting infected.
He, however, tasked the people to always report any strange diseases to the agency for prompt action.