By: Prudence Okonna
To reduce the burden of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and meet up with the elimination target of the World Health Organisation (WHO) by 2030, the FCT Administration has inaugurated the State Technical Advisory Committee on NTDs (STACON).
The inauguration at the Area Council Secretariat Conference Room, Garki, Abuja,Tuesday, brought together the newly appointed members of the NTDs Advisory committee and other relevant stakeholders in the FCT.
Inaugurating the technical working committee, the Acting Secretary, Health and Human Services Secretariat, Mallam Noel Haruna, explained that the Technical Working committee will henceforth provide technical advice to NTDs Team in the FCT and support in the process of programme development for the control, eradication, elimination and management of NTDs in the Territory.
The Secretary, represented by the Director of Public Health, Dr. Sadiqq Abdulrahman, added that all hands must be on deck to develop new strategies to tackle these diseases.
The NTDs National Coordinator, Federal Ministry of Health, Dr. Fatai Oyediran, said setting up the technical working committees is a mandate of the Federal Ministry of Health, that would foster the elimination of the fifteen identified Neglected tropical diseases prevalent in Nigeria.
The National Coordinator who was represented by the Deputy Director Lymphatic Filariasis, NTDS, FMOH, Emaka Uzoma, said having the committee will facilitate and fasten the elimination process of NTDs in the FCT.
He said that the guideline for choosing the membership team is aimed at bringing relevant persons from different works of life to contribute their expertise; and called on the members to ensure the necessary work is done to achieve the goals of setting up the committee.
According to the NTDs FCT Coordinator, Dr. Eunice Ogundipe, the inauguration is coming on the hills of the mandate from the Federal Ministry of Health, to institute technical working committees across the thirty-six states of Federation and the FCT.
She said that the essence of having the committee is to strengthen the efforts aimed at eradicating these diseases in the FCT through mobilization of resources and advocacy visits to stakeholders in the six area councils.
Dr. Ogundipe added that the committee was set up in accordance with the National guideline of the Federal Ministry Of Health.
Her words: “We didn’t randomly choose the members of this committee, we followed strictly the National guidelines given to us by the Federal Ministry of Health”.
Responding after the inauguration of the committee, the pioneer Chairman of the FCT-STACON, Professor Yoila Malann assured that the terms of reference guiding the committee must be achieved.
He added that he would ensure that all members contribute their experiences towards eradicating these diseases especially in eliminating Soil Transmitted Helminthiasis (STH), which affects mostly children in rural communities with limited sanitation facilities.
Part of the terms of reference guiding the FCT-STACON include meeting of committee members on a quarterly basis, facilitate operational research in NTDs, facilitate policy process of integration among others.
Representatives from Public Health Department, Rural Water and Sanitation Agency, FCT-Water Board, Secondary Education Board, Primary Health Care Board, Universal Basic Education Board, Christian Blind Mission, and Health and Development Support among others will serve as members of the FCT- NTDs Technical Working Committee.
Neglected Tropical Diseases are a group of parasitic and bacterial infections associated with poverty and prevalent in areas with poor sanitation, inadequate or lack of safe water sources and substandard housing conditions.