Prof Yoila Malann, Chairman, Parasitology and Public Health Society of Nigeria, says red or brownish urine, enlarged or abnormal scrotum and breast, diarrhea and visual impairment, among others, are symptoms of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs).
Malann revealed this during the community outreach for treatment of schistosomiasis and soil transmitted helminthiasis (intestinal helminths) in Jahi Primary Health Centre on Monday in Abuja.
Helminthiasis is an infestation with one or more intestinal parasitic roundworms that include whipworms, hookworms and ascaris.
Malann said,” Those that have enlarged scrotum, scrotal sac that is distended and having difficulty wearing pants or enlarged breasts beyond normal are some signs of NTDs.
” Also river blindness can lead to visual impairment.
“All these diseases are preventable and treatable, if awareness Is carried out and people know about it and how to prevent it.”
He, therefore, advised people to desist from defecating, bathing and drinking from open spaces
“Let’s not bathe, defecate or urinate in open places, which can lead to our water bodies.
” And since water is not supplied in every places, people still go to open places and water to bathe and through that can contact the disease.
” So we can prevent it if government provides water or you dig well to get treated water. Also some drugs are being given free, once you take it, it resolves the crisis,” he said.
He also encouraged the need to embark on massive and continuous awareness campaign and translation of information materials into local languages
“By translating all these into local languages to educate people on the dangers of open defecation, urination, bathing likely to lead to some of these diseases.
” If they cease from the practice, we will eliminate these diseases,” he said.
Also, Associate Prof. Olarewaju Adetutu, an expert on Public Health, University of Abuja, encouraged the public to adopt behavioral change that would improve our health status and eliminate diseases.
“It is hard to change human behaviours that is why we are still having the prevalence of these diseases in our communities.
” We should adhere to instructions of not making use of polluted water, bathing and drinking infested water and imbibe the habits of washing hands, even fruits and vegetables should be properly washed before consumption.
” I also appeal to the government to release more funds to provide clean water and take care of our water system,” she said.
Dr Eunice Ogundipe, NTDs Coordinator in the FCT, said the exercise was part of activities to commemorate the 2023 NTD globally celebrated every Jan. 30th.
” We are here to create awareness on NTDs and also treat community members. So many community members are suffering from some of these NTDs,” she said.
According to her, the sensitisation would also be replicated in various area councils, offices, schools, religious places, markets and other public places.
She, revealed that the FCT was carrying out various exercises in the elimination and treatment of Onchocerciasis, river blindness, helminthiasis, schistosomiasis and lymphatic filariasis
Also, Dr Modupe Adeyinka, Director, Primary Healthcare Centres, AMAC, stressed the need for enlightenment exercise to enable people, especially those at the grassroots level, to be aware of causes and appropriate treatment for such diseases.
” These drugs are freely given and it would aide in eliminating these disseases.
” Information is power, when you know what to do and how to do it, you will be able to identify the diseases.
” We want you to spread the word around, so that everybody can be informed on measures to take,” she said. (NAN)