The Senate on Tuesday, urged the Federal Government to increase its effort at eradicating Neglected Tropical Diseases.
Chairman Senate Committee on Health Sen. Ibrahim Yahaya Oloriegbe (APC- Kwara) made the call at a round-table organised by the Nigeria National Task Team ( NNTT) held in Abuja.
Oloriegbe listed the diseases to include
Lymphatic Filariasis (Elephantiasis), Onchocerciasis (River blindness), Trachoma (Granular Conjunctivitis) and Schistosomiasis (Bilharzia).
Others he said are Rabbies, Leprosy, Yaws, Snakebites, Leishmaniasis, Human African Trypanosomiasis (HAT).
Oloriegbe said that with the high prevalence of NTDs in the country urgent attention was needed from stakeholders to eradicate the diseases.
” It is my hope that my colleagues at the National Assembly will be convinced to include the elimination of NTDs to the list of their constituency projects.
“This will go a long way at alleviating the sufferings of Nigerians afflicted by the diseases in one way or the other,” he said.
Similarly, Sen. Oluremi Tinubu (APC Lagos) said that awareness was key for the campaign in the eradication of the diseases.
For Chairman, Senate Committee on Water Resources, Sen. Bello Mandiya, water and sanitation were very critical in preventing and eliminating the diseases.
Minister of State for Health Olorunnibe Mamora in his submissions, said Nigeria ranked either first or second globally in the prevalence of the diseases aside Malaria which was a massive killer in the country .
He explained that government alone could not do it all as corporate organisations needed to join in the campaign of eliminating the diseases largely domiciled in rural areas.
“Rural dwellers too need to help government in getting rid of the killer diseases by being hygienic as regards water they drink and how they empty their bowels as far as defecation is concerned.
He said progress is being made against neglected tropical diseases.
Mamora said it was vital that everyone worked continuously even in these challenging times.
He noted that NTDs could cause severe debilitating and lifelong physical and visual impairment, whereas they could be eliminated.
He said the ministry would ensure effective execution of NTD programmes, whilst guaranteeing that the best of the ministry’s team was deployed to the NTD unit in the Public Health department.
“This includes efficient data gathering, especially for IDM NTDs as well as adequate Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) at State, local government and ward/grassroots levels, because this is where the work really needs to be done.
“In addition, the ministry will ensure that medical commodities, including drugs donated, are immediately distributed to the last mile where persons who need them can have access to the items,” he added.(NAN)