By: Prudence Okonna

The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has concluded plans to commence deworming exercises across offices in other to eliminate or prevent Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) in the FCT.

The FCT NTDs coordinator, Eunice Ogundipe, revealed this during the commemoration of World NTDs Day held in Jahi Primary Health Center, noting that it was important to leave no one behind, especially workers in the FCT, who have not been considered during previous deworming exercises.

In her words, “we want to move to offices, we have visited eleven offices within the Garki area, and we have written letters to Directors of some of these commissions and agencies telling them we want their staff to be dewormed. So, as from February 1st, we are moving to offices”.

Ogundipe explained that the essence of the visit to Jahi is to create more awareness among the community members and administer Praziquantel for the treatment of Schistosomiasis and Menbezol tablets for the treatment of Soil-Transmitted Helminthiasis (STH), which are two of the NTDs prevalent in the FCT.

She added that the previous sensitizations had yielded results as some cases of schistosomiasis were reported and treated in Jahi.

The Director, Primary Health Center, Abuja Municipal Area Council, Dr. Adeyinka Modupe while addressing community members, said creating awareness was critical to the outreach. She emphasized the need for everyone to be an ambassador and tell others about the diseases and how the symptoms can be identified in anyone.

The North Central Coordinator, Parasitology and Public Health Society of Nigeria, Professor Yoila Malann said one of the symptoms of Schistosomiasis is reddish or brownish urine. He added that the symptoms of STH include Diarrhea or dysentery, depending on the severity of the disease in the human body. He explained that Onchosiciasis and Lymphatic Filariasis might have some other signs on the skin like regular itching, pigmentation, enlarged scrotum, and enlarged breast.

Malann, however, noted that these diseases are preventable when proper sanitation is adhered to.

Also speaking at the sensitization outreach, the FCT program manager, Health and Development Support (HANDS), Achai Emmanuel said the research and survey carried out in the FCT showed that onchocerciasis is no longer endemic in the FCT. While the results from the last batch of the survey on lymphatic filariasis will be available by March 2023.

Achai expressed optimism that FCT will be rid of these two diseases and will be on its way to achieving the 2030 target.

 The 2023 World NTDs Day which is marked annually on the 30 January, is the fourth commemoration in a row, themed,” Act now, Act together, Invest in Neglected Tropical Diseases”.

Neglected Tropical Diseases are twenty viral, bacterial, and parasitic diseases identified by the World Health Assembly (WHA) that mostly affect poor people in Southeast Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and the Caribbean because of inadequate water and sanitation facilities.

Meanwhile, the National Coordinator, NTDs, Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH), Dr. Nse Akpan, had said during a sensitization outreach to a Local Education Authority Primary School, in Durumi that the 2030 NTDs elimination target was only possible through a multisector approach. He emphasized that FMOH can only champion the target road map but needed every other sector to key into the goal to have a speedy outcome.

As Nigeria works towards eliminating NTDs by 2030, it has been ranked one of the top fifteenth countries in the world with the highest burden of diseases according to the World Health Organisation.