Abuja, Nov. 16, 2023 The Federal Capital Territory Authority (FCTA) says it is targeting 559 communities in the six area councils of the territory for administration of free deworming drugs for the elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs).
Dr Adedolapo Fasade, the Mandate Secretary, Health and Human Services Secretariat, FCTA, said during the launch of the 2023 Mass Administration of Medicines (MAM) on Thursday in Abuja that the exercise is to eliminate NTDs in the FCT.
Fasade, represented by Dr Teresa Nwachukwu, the FCT Epidemiologist, said NTDs are prevalent in areas that have poor sanitation, inadequate or lack of safe water sources and sub standard housing conditions.
He said that “the logic behind this annual treatment of community members is to ameliorate the problems associated with these diseases.
“The FCT NTDs Unit is covering 559 communities in the FCT for the treatment of Onchocerciasis, schistosomiasis, lymphatic filariasis and other NTDs.”
According to him, school and community-based approach through the aid of teachers and Community Directed Distributors (CDDs) shall be deployed to carry out the exercise.
He added that “free treatment shall be carried out in schools for pupils aged five to14 years, while the CDDs will be moving from house to house to treat community members aged five years and above for the prevention of these diseases.
“The deworming tablets were donated by the World Health Organisatiom (WHO) for the use of community members. This implies that NTDs medicines are available and accessible.
“Ensure you get these free treatment and also give maximum cooperation and support to the
officers as they administer these medicines across the six area councils.”
Mrs Imaobong Umah, the Programme Manager of Schistosomiasis Unit, Federal Ministry of Health, said NTDs affect progress toward the achievement of Universal Health Coverage (UHC), poverty reduction, economic growth and social development.
Umah, while encouraging residents to participate in the exercise, commended development partners for their support toward eliminating the diseases and improving Nigeria’s health status.
Dr Eunice Ogundipe, the Coordinator, NTDs FCT, said “this exercise is to scale up awareness in the FCT.
“Many people are suffering from this diseases but are attributing it to superstitious beliefs, meanwhile we have medicines for treatment.”
Ogudipe added that over 80 patients across the six area councils of the FCT had surgery due to NTDs.
Mr Joseph Kumbul, the NTDs Technical Specialist, Christoffel- Blinden Mission (CBM) Nigeria, said recent impact assessment showed the prevalence of NTDs in the FCT.
He added that “an impact assessment last month shows that we have heavy burden of schistosomiasis in the FCT.
“Deworming activities are going on currently in all the area councils, targeting school age children and adults.
“People should avail their children of this opportunity to take this free and effective deworming tablets,” he said.
Ms Esther Yakubu, the Senior Programme Officer on NTDs, Health Development Support Programme (HANDS), said the organisation supports in providing technical services, drugs, surgery and other treatment resulting from NTDs.
Yakubu said that the group’s slogan — “Equal Opportunity on an Inclusive Society” is aimed at ensuring access to healthcare services to the people, especially those in rural areas.
Source: News Agency of Nigeria