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How We have Battled Neglected Tropical Diseases in Akwa Ibom – AKSG

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How We have Battled Neglected Tropical Diseases in A’Ibom – AKSG

 

The Akwa Ibom State Government has offered insight into the effort they have made in fighting to control and also eliminate Neglected Tropical Diseases ( NTDS) in Akwa lbom State.

The State Government says the state NTD team has been committed towards intensifying risk communication, social mobilization and community engagement activities as well as the Mass Administration of Medicines (MAM) in endemic communities and schools.

 

This was made known by the Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Health, Prof Augustine Umoh on the occasion of World Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD) Day held on Friday, 29, January 2021.

Represented by the Permanent Secretary, Dr Patrick Essiet, he explained that some of the NTD endemic communities have been treated for upwards of 10 years.

Essiet said that in 2019, the Akwa lbom state NTD programme achieved 75 per cent therapeutic coverage in the five highest burden NTDs.

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He pointed out that while the achievement is commendable, the State Government will not rest on her oars. Essiet stated that they plan to do more in the area of sensitization of the general populace on the need for proper environmental sanitation, improved

personal hygiene, discouragement of open defecation, drinking of

clean and potable water, and above all,reporting early for diagnosis and proper treatment.

 

Essiet said ” As we speak, Uruan Local Government Area (LF endemic LG.A) is qualified for a Pre-Transmission ASsessment Survey (TAS) in the second week of February, 2021.”

 

“This means that the Local Government Area has been “effectively” treated for five (5) consecutive years and by the end of this year, other Local Government Areas shall be qualified for Pre-TAS. This is indeed a remarkable achievement for the state.”

 

The Permanent Secretary thanked Governor Udom Emmanuel over what he described as his health-friendly policies which he said have gone a long way to support and boost efforts in the fight against NTDs.

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He appreclated the role of the National Coordinator and the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) NTD team in providing the needed drugs, support and supervision for the fight to control/eliminate NTDs.

 

Essiet expressed gratitude to their partner, Helen Keller International (HKI), over what he described as immeasurable and unrelenting technical and financial support in the battle.

 

He added ” The Theme for this year’s world NTD day is, #endtheneglect. #beatNTDs. It is apt considering the high level of deformity, disability, social isolation, stigmatization and destitution due to these diseases”.

 

“NTDs are a diverse group of tropical infections common in low-income populations in developing regions of Africa, Asia and the Americas.There are prevalent in areas with poor hygienic conditions, poverty and ignorance.”

 

“NTDs are a threat to more than 1.5 billion people. These diseases kill slowly and can take many years to develop, thus people don’t pay much attention to them as they do to other diseases that Kill quickly e.g. malaria.”

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“However, the good news is that the 5(Five) highest burden NTDDs Lymphatic Filariasis (Elephantiasis), Onchocerciasis (River Blindness Schistosomiasis (Bilharziasis), Blinding Trachoma, and Soil – Transmitted Helminthiasis (Intestina worms), are amenable to highly effective preventative chemotherapy”

 

Meanwhile, World NTD day is a day set aside to create awareness on Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs). The first world NTD day was on the 30th of January, 2020. January is also the anniversary of the landmark 2012 London Declaration on NTDs, which unified partners across sectors,countries and disease communities to push for greater investment and actions on NTDs.

 

By Ekemini Simon

 

 

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