In commemoration of the 2023 World Neglected Tropical Diseases Day (NTDs) which is a global healthcare event that is celebrated annually on January 30th with this year’s Theme ‘Act Now, Act Together, Invest in Neglected Tropical Diseases’, the Edo State Primary Health Care Development Agency in collaboration with Carter Center and other partners has intensified the advocacy of NTDs while on advocacy visit to endemic areas in Uhunmwode Local Government Area.

Communities visited during the advocacy tour include Igbogili and Ugomoson Communities both in Uhunmwode LGA of Edo State.

The campaign featured health talk and a road walk through the communities to sensitize the people on the need to observe personal hygiene for the prevention of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs).

The Executive Secretary, Edo State Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr. Omosigho Izedonmwen urged the residents of Igbogili and Ugomoson communities to comply with the state government in keeping up with the global target of eliminating the Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) through the Mass Administration of Medicines (MAM).

Also speaking, the Director of Disease Control and Immunization (EDSPHCDA), Dr. Gideon Iraoyah noted that NTDs are influenced by poor hygiene, lack of access to clean water, and direct contact with infected surfaces and objects.

Dr. Iraoya also noted that Neglected Tropical Diseases include, Onchocerciasis (River Blindness), Soil-transmitted helminths, and Lymphatic filariasis amongst others.

While explaining the causes of some of the common diseases associated with NTDs, Dr. Gideon Iraoyah emphasized that humans become infected when blackflies deposit Onchocerca infective larvae into the skin when biting, while soil-transmitted helminths which are also referred to as intestinal worms are transmitted through contaminated soil.

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Whereas, lymphatic filariasis which is a parasitic disease caused by microscopic, thread-like worms which live in the human lymph system that maintains the body’s fluid balance and fights infections could be spread from person to person through mosquitos’ bite.

He added that people with lymphatic filariasis disease could suffer from lymphedema and elephantiasis and in men, swelling of the scrotum, called hydrocele.

In response, the Odionwere of Igbogili Community, Apostle Okunwaye who was ably represented by Frank Okunwaye pledges the community supports in adherence to government directives in making sure NTDs in the region are reduced to the lowest minimum.

Earlier, while speaking to newsmen during a press briefing at the agency’s board room on World Neglected Tropical Diseases Day, the executive secretary asserted that diseases associated with NTDs are named neglected because less attention was paid to them over the years towards the control, prevention, elimination, and eradication of the diseases.

According to the executive secretary, these diseases may have been neglected but their negative impact is greatly felt. As such, “we must extend our hands of fellowship to those who have been infected and affected by these diseases.”

Dr. Izedonmwen noted that the state government is keeping up with the global target of eliminating Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) through various means which include; Mass Administration of Medicines (MAM) notably Ivermectin ctizan) for Riverblindness elimination in 15 LGAs, Albendazole for the elimination of soil-transmitted helminths in 16 LGAs, a combination of Albendazole and Ivermectin for lymphatic filariasis (Elephantiasis) in 7 LGAs and Praziquantel for schistosomiasis (Bilharziasis).

Agbonlahor Felicia is the media officer, EDSPHCDA