From Fred Ezeh, Abuja

Federal Government, has adopted the 10-year roadmap, 2021-2030, document 

against Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) as recently approved by the World Health Organization (WHO), in addition its reviewed NTD Masterplan for actions 2023–2027, to complement the WHO’s document in the fight against NTD.

The plans, according to the government, is an integrated approach to deliver programmes, with emphasis on moving from process to impact measuring for accountability, putting in place effective multi-sectoral approach and integration of NTDs, country ownership and political commitment for sustainability.

The roadmap also proposed ambitious targets and the innovative approaches to tackle NTDs and provide direction to global elimination, in addition to being an integrated approach to deliver programmes, with emphasis on different approaches.

Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, who launched the plan in an event to commemorate the 2023 World NTD with the theme ‘Act now. Act together. Invest in Neglected Tropical Diseases’ in Abuja, disclosed further that Nigeria account for about 25 per cent of all NTDs in Africa, with millions of persons at risk.

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He said: “Lymphatic Filariasis-122 million, Onchocerciasis- 33 million, Schistosomiasis- 20.8 million, Soil Transmitted Helminths- 29.4 million, Trachoma- 5.3 million and Human African Trypanosomiasis- 6.5 million people, respectively.”

He said the significance of the World NTD Day was to renew global and national awareness of the magnitude of NTDs and also present opportunities to highlight progress made, challenges met, policy direction and advocate support for prevention, control, and elimination efforts.

The Minister enjoined stakeholders in health sector to digest the document and use it as a guide for the attainment of set goals, reaffirming Nigeria support to efforts to engage other disease endemic nations, partners and stakeholders to contribute to development of the ‘Kigali Declaration on NTDs’, as proof of collective commitment to partnership for ownership of the strategic document, as in the WHO road map.”

He said that despite modest achievements, NTDs has been on the back burner, with little or no attention to implementation of plans to reduce poverty and improve wellbeing of sufferers.

“It is important to note that control and elimination of NTDs in Nigeria will significantly contribute to attainment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), advocating that all hands must be on deck to achieve the set target,” he said.