Mon. Jul 22nd, 2024

NTDs: FCTA Urges Residents To Embrace Deworming Drugs

By Justina Auta

The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has urged
residents to embrace deworming drugs targeted at treating the four major Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) endemic in the nation’s capital.

The acting Director, Public Health Department, Dr Doris John, made the call during a stakeholders’ meeting in preparation for the Mass Administration of Medicines for NTDs in Abuja.

The mass administration of the drugs is set to begin in November.

The four major Neglected Tropical Diseases prevalent in the FCT include Soil Transmitted Helminthiasis, Lymphatic Filariasis, Onchocerciasis and Schistosomiasis.

John, who was represented by Dr Eunice Ogundipe, the NTDs Programme Manager, Public Health Department, FCTA, said the meeting brought stakeholders from the six area councils to help mobilise and create awareness on deworming medicines.

According to her, these diseases are predominant in poor communities with little or no water and sanitation facilities, which has associated stigma because of the forms it takes.

She explained that diseases such as elephantiasis have wide spread superstitious believes because it presents as a swollen leg which makes it difficult for affected persons to freely interact in the communities.

Ogundipe said “many community members are suffering from NTDs, for instance, elephantiasis which occurs when a person’s leg becomes excessively swollen.

“They make reference to witches and wizard or charm but with this meeting, our stakeholders know that there are drugs that are free and accessible targeted at these diseases. “We want to assure residents that through these drugs, they will be fine.”

Also, Imaobong Umah, the Programme Manager, Schistosomiasis/Soil Transmitted Helminthiasis Elimination Programme, Federal Ministry of Health, said mass administration of deworming drugs was part of strategies to eliminate NTDs in Nigeria.

Umah added that the exercise would take place in schools, communities, religious gatherings, markets and others to enable them to reach the targeted group.

She, however, lamented the push back and resistance received from some community members due to ignorance and appealed to residents especially parents, to feed their children properly before presenting them to take the drugs.

Rinpan Ishaya, NTDs Manager, Health and Development Support Programme (HANDS), said there were three outbreaks of schistosomiasis in the past one year alone in FCT.

Ishaya said that the meeting was an opportunity to cover information gaps by sharing the burden with the representatives of the communities targeted at collaborating with them to eliminate NTDs.

Joseph Kumbur, NTDs Technical Specialist, Christoffel- Blinden Mission (CBM), Nigeria, reiterated the group’s commitment toward supporting the government in the exercise.

Stakeholders present at the meeting include representatives of traditional leaders, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Jama’tu Nasril Islamic (JNI), Heads of Department Health, FCT-Primary Health Care Board and Universal Basic Education Board (UBEB) among others. (NAN)

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