NTD: 5m persons risk river blindness, other diseases in Kaduna

Kaduna state government has raised alarm that over five million people in the state are at risk of contracting river blindness, lymphatic filariasis, bilharziaziz and intestinal worms, noting that the state is working hard to tackle the menace. 

The State Commissioner for Health, Hajiya Umma K. Ahmad told a press conference to commemorate the 2024 World Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD) Day in Kaduna on Tuesday that the state government has been working with relevant stakeholders, NGOs and development partners such as Sightsavers to tackle the menace of NTDs in the state. She said Kaduna state government is charting a new course of community engagement to tackle Neglected Tropical Diseases for sustainable development.

According to Hajiya Ahmed, the country has been battling seriously to eliminate the tropical diseases, over the years, by taken various measures such as, Mass Administration of Medicines, Morbidity Management and Disability Prevention, Integrated Vector Control, Sound Sanitation, Hygiene Practices with Safe Water Supply, among others.

She said: “Every 30th January has been set aside by the World Health Organization (WHO) to sensitize all global communities on the burden of NTDs which affects more than 1 billion people across the globe with about 149 countries faced with these diseases and Africa bearing about half of the global burden. Nigeria is the country with the second highest burden of NTDs in the world and also contributes the highest burden in Africa with more than 120 million of its people living at the risk of one neglected tropical disease or the other.

“The World Neglected Tropical Disease NTD Day is an opportunity to re-energise the momentum to end the suffering from these 20 diseases that are caused by a variety of pathogens including viruses, bacteria, parasites, fungi, and toxins. The Day would help government to focus on millions of people who have limited or no access to prevention, treatment, and care. 

“The recent rollout of the 10-year NTDs roadmap for the period of 2021-2030 by the WHO on the 28th of January 2021, which proposed ambitious targets and innovative approaches towards tackling NTDs, provides a clear blueprint and direction towards NTDs elimination globally. I’m glad to report that substantial progress has been made over the decade as we have been able to interrupt the transmission of Onchocerciasis in 16 LGAs and elimination of Trachoma in Kaduna state according to the Trachoma Prevalence Survey Report of 2023.”