World NTDs Day: Gombe faces high risks of Biharzia, River Blindness, Elephantiasis, say experts

Dr Abdulrahman Shuaibu, Executive Secretary, Gombe State Primary Health Care Development Agency (GSPHCDA), on Friday, raised alarm over the risks posed by Neglected Tropical Disease (NTDs) to the state.
Shuaibu stated this in Gombe, while speaking with newsmen on World NTDs Day, commemorated on Jan. 30, every year.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that NTDs is a diverse group of about 20 diseases, that affect populations living in tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world particularly Africa, Asia and America, and that usually affects the poor.
The GSPHCDA boss said Gombe was endemic to three prominent ones, Schistosomiasis, commonly called Bilharzia, Onchocerciasis, otherwise known as River blindness, and Lymphatic Filariasis, also called Elephantiasis.
He said the state government had been creating awareness about the NTDs, through the help of the Federal Government, Amen Foundation, an NGO.
According to him, the Federal Government and the NGO had been conducting mass administration of drugs to those ailments in the state, including Mectizan, Paraziquental and Albendazole, of which over 2.3 million tablets were distributed across the state in November 2020.
Shuaibu said the state, in collaboration with the Amen Foundation, also conducted free surgery on 399 persons for hydrocele, a complication of lymphatic filariasis.
He said that one of the major strategies of preventing NTDs, was in ensuring that people had access to clean water, environmental sanitation, personnel hygiene and controlling the vector that transmits the disease.
Also speaking, Malam Danjuma Mohammed, Coordinator NTDs in GSPHCDA, said 735,533 persons were treated for  Schistosomiasis, 2,366,873 for Lymphatic Filariasis and 2,660,776 for Onchocerciasis, in the state.
Mohammed appealed to residents to always rally around efforts by the governments and other stakeholders, to address the challenge posed by NTDs in the state, by submitting themselves for check-up, whenever officials turned up in the communities. (NAN)