Health ministry pledges to tackle NTD in Benue

By Ann Ngbea

Commissioner for Health and Human Services, Dr Joseph Ngbea, has pledged the ministry’s preparedness to tackle the menace of neglected diseases that were becoming endemic in the State.

Dr Ngbea made the pledge during a recent media briefing, to commemorate World Neglected Tropical Diseases Day, celebrated by the state Ministry of Health and Human Services, Neglected
Tropical Diseases Control and Elimination Programme, in partnership with SightSavers.

He said over 20 diseases were endemic in 189 countries affecting about 1.6 billion people, while five (5) diseases were prevalent in the state.

According to Dr Ngbea, “onchocerciasis, popularly called river blindness, is found in all the 23 local governments, schistosomiasis in 22, while soil transmitted helminthes is found in 18 local governments with lymphatic filariasis in 16 and trachoma cases in three local governments of the state.”

Government is prepared to work with partners to intervene in Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD), restating
the readiness of government to provide counterpart funding to achieve greater impact on people of the State,” he stated.

In a remark, Director Public Health in the ministry, Dr Terna Kur, emphasised the need to create awareness on the
diseases that were causing havoc to the vulnerable population, especially with little attention from government and partners.

Dr Kur said state government has been making efforts, such as provision of insecticidal nets and provision of potable water and encouraged people to carry out fumigation of their environment, as well as imbibe personal hygiene, in order to combat NTDs in the state.

Also speaking, Chairman, National Committee on Neglected Tropical Diseases, Nigeria Medical Association,
Dr Terkaa Bito, said World Health Organisation (WHO) has set a roadmap for this year to ensure that morbidity and mortality associated with NTDs were addressed.

It is therefore, stated that 30 January, of every year was declared by the landmark 2012 Declaration on NTDs and this year’s theme is, “End the Neglect, Beat NTDs.”

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