June 14, 2024

The Daily Vendor

Nigeria Digital Newspaper

Anambra River Blindness, Elephantiasis Free – Commissioner

2 min read

Anambra State Government in partnership with Carter Centre said it successfully eliminated two Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) – River Blindness and  Elephantiasis, through mass drug administration and vector control programmes.

Commissioner for Health, Dr Afam Obidike dropped the hint on Friday at a news conference on Neglected Tropical Diseases Interventions, to mark the 2024 World NTDs Day, themed, “Unite to Act Towards Elimination of NTDs”.

World NTDs Day is marked every Jan. 30 to create awareness and call on everyone to support the growing momentum for the control, elimination and eradication of these diseases.

Obidike, represented by Acting Director, Public Health Department, Dr Afam Aneme said the state gained the laudable achievements following concerted efforts to prevent, control and eliminate NTDs.

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

According to him, NTDs are caused by a variety of pathogens including viruses, bacteria, parasites, fungi and toxins.

“Of the four preventive NTDs under intervention, we successfully interrupted the transmission of two, River Blindness and Elephantiasis through mass drug administration and vector control programmes. 

“The achievements were evident during 2020 Epidemiological Reclassification Survey on Onchocerciasis (River Blindness) in 16 endemic Local Government Areas (LGAs).

“And in the 2022 Transmission Assessment Survey  on Lymphatic Filariasis (Elephantiasis) in 21 endemic LGAs, which reported lower prevalences of 0.3 per cent and 0.1 per cent respectively. 

“Today all endemic LGAs have stopped mass drug administration against the two diseases and entered post treatment surveillance stage,” he said.

The Commissioner said the other two NTDs – Soil Transmitted Helminth infections and schistosomiasis were currently receiving public health attention in the 12 endemic LGAs.

He said that 1,211 health workers, 350 Community Directed Distributors, 106 Community Supervisors and 3,455  were trained  for identification and treatment of different NTDs in the state.

He thanked Carter Centre, Parasitology and Public Health Society of Nigeria (PPSN) and other partners for supporting the state in the fight to eradicate NTDs.

Also speaking, Programme Officer, the Carter Centre, Mrs Egeonu Attamah-Isiani,  said NTDs wrecked havoc in the human body and required attention.

She said that the NTD drugs were administered in homes, churches, offices, markets and at social gatherings, free of charge to achieve the feat.

“The Federal Ministry of Health conducted surveys and assessments, with the results, the National Onchocerciasis Elimination Committee in Abuja  declared that Anambra state had eliminated these diseases.

“There were steps the state went through in partnership with the federal ministry of health, Carter Centre and other  partners to achieve this milestone.

“The other two NTDs are yet to be eliminated and we needed to intensify awareness and interventions in the state,”she said.

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