By Kolawole Olayinka, Abeokuta
The Ogun government has said that at least over three million people were at risk of contracting Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) in the state.
The state commissioner for health Dr. Tomi Coker, disclosed this during a press conference in Abeokuta to commemorate World NTDs day.
The theme for 2020 NTDs day is : Beat NTDs : For Good For All .
Coker noted that out of the three million people at risk of NTDs in the state, 1.4million were school-age children, saying that several thousands battling with the complications of the diseases.
The commissioner explained that NTDs were a group of infectious diseases usually associated with poverty and were found mainly in the tropics.
She added that Ogun was endemic with six NTDs which included Onchocerciasis, Lymphatic Filariasis, Schistosomiasis, Soil-Transmitted Helminthes, Leprosy, and Buruli Ulcer.
“Though NTDs are associated with low mortality, the burden of diseases is huge with many of the sufferers developing disabilities with negative socioeconomic consequences.
“Globally, about 1.5 billion individuals across 149 countries are affected by NTDs with 40 per cent of them found in sub-Saharan Africa. A quarter of which is found in Nigeria,” she said.
Coker added that the Ogun NTDs Control Programme had trained 8, 500 teachers and treated 780,657 school-age children in 6000 schools in 2019.
She said the global community had set aside January 30 to mark the World Neglected Tropical Diseases day and it would be observed all over the world.
She added that there would be sensitisation in schools and communities through local government area NTD teams and school health workers and also awareness walk on Thursday, Jan. 30.
“The purpose is to create awareness among all stakeholders, including policymakers, scientists, academia and the general communities on Neglected Tropical Diseases.