By Aderogba George
The Federal Capital Territory Department of Public Health has begun awareness campaign on preventive measures against Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) in the Federal capital territory (FCT) schools.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that NTD Day is celebrated annually on Jan. 30 as declared by the World Health Assembly, to raise awareness and call on the global community to help eliminate NTDs.
The Coordinator, NTDs, FCT Public Health Department, Dr Eunice Ogundipe, said this at the commemoration of the NTD Day in Government Secondary School Garki, Abuja, on Wednesday.
Ogundipe said that the essence of visiting the school was to sensitise members of staff and the students against the dangers of the NTDs.
She explained that the initiative was also to inform them that “the FCT public health department treats the neglected tropical diseases free of charge. We have the drugs in stock.
“We are in partnership with Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in the treatment of such diseases.”
She said that many of the partners had been supportive to the Department in terms of provision of free drugs.
“We are here to commemorate the 5th anniversary of World NTDs day and to scale up awareness of the burden and prevalence of NTDs in the FCT.
“We dewormed people free of charge against the NTDs.
“Today, we have dewormed hundreds of students and some members of staff. This is targeted at reducing the burden of intestinal worms as many think that it is only children that can be affected but it is not,” she said.
She explained that deworming was not only for children, as adults were even at risk of NTDs, even though the children were at more at risk than the adults.
“Once they have taken the medicine, if they are having heavy load of worms, it will reduce automatically and the burden will be low,” Ogundipe said.
The North Central Coordinator, Parasitology and Public Health Society of Nigeria (PPSN), Prof. Yoila-David Malann, lauded the Federal Government for the initiative, saying government had made so much effort in that direction.
Malann, also a lecturer at the University of Abuja, stated that NTDs are up to 20 and that the target of the FCTA administration was to drastically reduce the prevalence of the diseases.
He called on NGOs and other spirited individuals to join hands with the government to end all forms of NTDs in the country.
“Nigeria is still battling with the NTDs and some of them have continued to pose danger on our health economy.”
He attributed the prevalence of some of the tropical diseases to poor hygiene, especially improper sanitary conditions and practices.
Also, Dr Mercy-Nwakaego Ezeunala, Research Officer, National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD), stated that more campaign about NTDs was still needed in the rural communities, saying that many people do not know much about the diseases.
Mrs Onwuka-Stella Ngozi, Vice Principal of the school, lauded the initiative, saying before now they did not really know much about NTDs.
“Your coming here into the school has really brought more enlightenment to our staff and students,” she said.
She assured that the school would continue with regular campaign and constant reminder of what they have learnt about NTDs.
She called on the FCT Public Health Department to continue to visit the school for other enlightenment issues. (NAN)
Edited by Auwalu Birnin Kudu/Folasade Adeniran