Centre to partner Imo State on fight against tropical diseases


THE Carter Centre, a non-governmental organisation, has promised to strengthen its collaboration with the Imo Government in the fight against tropical diseases.

Dr Adamu Sallau, the Director of the centre in Imo, made the pledge when he visited the Imo Ministry of Health in Owerri on Friday as part of the activities to mark the maiden World Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) Day, which was celebrated worldwide on Thursday, January 30.

Sallau described the NTDs day as “a call to action”, saying that the diseases had been slated for elimination rather than control.

He said the organisation, which was founded by former American President , Jimmy Carter, was committed to safe living.

He urged all hands to be on deck until NTDs were completely wiped out from the earth.

He said, “World NTDs Day is a call to action. The tropical diseases have been slated for elimination, not control. We must get to the zero level and sustain it.”

Speaking on the theme: “Beat NTDs for good, for all”,  the Director of Public Health in the ministry, Dr Austin Okeji, described NTDs as a group of communicable diseases with debilitating effects on humans.

Okeji said that the diseases had affected about one billion persons in the world.

He listed the training of 1,517 health workers and 12,603 community distributors of medicines as some of the achievements of the ministry in 2019.

He also listed the distributed medicines to include 12 million tablets of mectizan, four million tablets of albendazole and about one million tablets of praziquantel.

He said that free treatment was administered on 3.2 million persons for onchocerciasis, 3.2 million for lymphatic filariasis, 1.2 million school age children for schistosomiasis and 1.2 million children for soil transmitted helminthes.

Okeji further said that NTDs could be transmitted through bite of infected insects such as black mosquito and through contact with contaminated fresh water, soil and ingestion of contaminated fruits and vegetables.

He urged Imo residents to keep their environments clean, provide latrines at homes, avoid open defecation and urination and properly wash fruits and vegetables before consumption.

He also advised them to wear protective covers while farming, sleep under insecticide treated nets, visit health facilities when symptoms manifested, avoid urinating inside a water body while swimming and taking NTDs medicines.

Okeji also urged them to look out for symptoms, such as itching, leopard skin, elephant skin, elephantiasis of leg, hand or breast, diarrhea, abdominal pain, swollen belly, loss of appetite, nodules and bloody stool or urine.

He assured the center of the state government’s readiness to partner with individuals and organisations in order to effectively tackle NTDs in the state. (NAN)

– Jan. 31, 2020 @ 13:29 GMT |

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