Nigeria has the highest prevalence rate of NTDs in Africa, Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) requires everyone’s attention now to “End The Neglect” and “Beat NTDs” with the overall aim of galvanizing the efforts of all partners from all sectors, Countries and disease communities to be united in the fight to end NTDs through greater investment and actions. These were the words of the Honorable Commissioner for Health Dr Betta Edu as she flagged off the Mass Administration of Medicines for NTDs in Cross River State. The event which held at Yakurr Local Government on Friday had the Presence of the Obol Lopon of Ugep and USAID RTI Rep, several other dignitaries in attendance.
“We are here to create awareness on the achievements made towards control of World’s NTDs and not to be daunted by the challenges faced in the control and elimination of these conditions. The greatest burden (socio-economic impact) of these diseases are most felt in the low and middle income Countries of the developing World like Africa, where they are most prevalent.
The major reasons commonly adduced for the neglect of these diseases include Overlook because they affect the poorest of the poor in developing World; Emphasis on decreasing certain diseases prevalence like HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria (ATM), and recently COVID-19 due to their higher mortality and public awareness rates; Many are asymptomatic with long incubation periods; Areas of endemicity are often geographically isolated making treatment and prevention much more difficult; Stigma association to NTDs and Resultant poor mental health. Much of the successes recorded in the control and prevention of NTDs has been through awareness creation and Mass Administration of Drugs, and that is why we have adopted this strategy in Cross River to reach the unreached. Our Health workers will come to your door steps especially in endemic areas pls let them in so together we can overcome NTDS.”
The Obol Lopon of Ugep HRM Ofem Ibanga Eteng who spoke on behalf of the traditional rulers commended the Governor of Cross River State Sen. Ben Ayade for his exploit in the health sector. He thanked the Commissioner for Health Dr Betta Edu who he described as his daughter and a hardworking and result driven person for the great work and diligence. He said they will support the mass campaign and anything Health, by mobilizing communities to benefit from it.
The DG of CRSPHCDA Dr Janet Ekpeyong who was represented by the PHC Director of Yakurr LGA Mr Arikpo Igiri said the event was also used to flagg-off the MeneA vaccination campaign in Yakurr. He advised parents and all to take advantage of both campaigns and ensure they benefit maximally.
The USAID representative working for RTI Dr Benjamin who spoke on the need for Nigeria to Eliminate NTDs said Cross River State has their full support to see that NTDs are eliminated. He said More resources will be allocated to see that schistosomiasis, filariasis, Hook worm etc becomes a thing of the past.
High point of the event was the administration of the drugs to community members and children by the Commissioner for Health and the Obol Lepon of Ugep.