By Justina Auta
The Federal Government has inaugurated the Neglected Tropical Diseases Water, Sanitation, Hygiene (NTD-WASH) dashboard to provide data visualisation on progress made in tackling tropical diseases across the country.
Speaking at the event on Wednesday in Abuja, Dr. Nicola Olobio, Program Manager Trachoma, Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH), said that the dashboard would provide comprehensive information on progress so far achieved in combating tropical disease, particularly in hard to reach communities.
“The aim of this launch is to have good WASH services in those places where the services are very poor.
” We are having an NTDs activities here as an intervention and the essence is to find out its impacts in the communities.
“We incorporated the water sector to carry out interventions and make sure that WASH services are okay; and by so doing, it makes elimination easy for us, because without WASH you can not eliminate NTDs.
“Behavioral change is a huge challenge, because you can not change people’s behaviour and this is why in many states people still practice open defecation.
“Because it is difficult to change people’s behaviour, we decided to bring in the WASH sector to support us,” he said.
Also speaking, Dr Sunday Isiyaku, the Country Director, Sightsavers Nigeria, said the dashboard would provide valuable resources for researchers, policymakers and other stakeholders on the impacts of interventions in tackling NTDs.
Isiyaku, represented by Mrs Anita Gwom, the organisation’s Senior Programe Manager, reiterated their commitment to partner with WASH and NTD sectors toward the elimination of NTDs in the country, particularly trachoma.
“The purpose of this launch is to present the dashboard as hosted on the WASHIMS platform to stakeholders.
“And also to familiarise stakeholders on how to access and use the dashboard effectively,” Isiyaku said.
Ms Chioma Mong, Executive Director, Health Environment Advocacy Learning (HEAL) Foundation, urged the federal government to partner with other stakeholders on the ongoing fight against NTDs.
Mong, represented by Ms Rita Oriere, said the foundation remain committed to the WASH-NTDs integrated approach and the impact assessment toward ensuring that NTDs are totally eliminated from Nigeria. (NAN)