The World Health Organisation (WHO) has revealed that 25% Of Africa’s Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD) Burden was from Nigeria.
This was revealed at the launch of the Expanded Special Project for Elimination of Neglected Tropical Disease (ESPEN) by WHO at the ongoing World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva, Switzerland.
ESPEN, a new partnership to help African countries reduce the burden of NTDs, will provide national NTD agencies with technical and fundraising support to help them control and eliminate NTDs in Nigeria and the rest of the African continent.
Speaking at the launch, the Secretary General of WHO, Dr. Margaret Chan, pledged the support of WHO to Nigeria and other African governments in moving ESPEN forward to resuscitate moribund efforts at tackling NTDs.
“ESPEN will run from 2016 to 2020 and it is designed to work towards the control and elimination targets established by WHO and endorsed by the London declaration of 2012 on NTDs.”
“The World Health Organisation estimated that more than one billion people including more than 500 million children are affected by NTDs of which 40 per cent live in the African region and Nigeria accounts for 25 per cent of the African burden. The NTDs, though can be prevented and treated, yet they continue to disfigure and disable, destroying lives, preventing children from going to school and keeping communities in cycles of poverty.”
Head of the Nigerian Delegation to the 69th WHA, Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, called on African Ministers of Health to work together in bringing NTDs into the health agenda, create awareness around it and ensure that it is no longer neglected.
“NTDs is a disease of the poor and such efforts at reducing the burden must include poverty reduction”
He therefore called on his colleagues to take ownership of ESPEN, put it at the front burner and bring it under a robust domestic financing.
NTDs are a group of tropical diseases that are prevalent amongst poor and vulnerable communities, these diseases include onchocerciasis, lymphatic filariasis, schistosomiasis, soil-transmitted helminthiasis and trachoma.