Delta govt. urges increased awareness to combat neglected tropical diseases

The Delta State government has called for increased awareness of the dangers of the prevalence of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) in the state and beyond.

Vincent Anighora, the state coordinator of the NTDs Elimination Programme, made the call in an interview on Monday in Asaba.

Mr Anighora, who doubles as the Delta State Primary Health Care Development Agency (DSPHCDA) coordinator, said the state had regrettably recorded two deaths from such diseases.

NTDs are viral, parasitic, and bacterial diseases mainly affecting the world’s poorest people.

The most common diseases are schistosomiasis, a disease caused by infection with freshwater parasitic worms in certain tropical and subtropical countries and leprosy, a chronic, curable infectious disease mainly causing skin lesions and nerve damage.

Some others are rabies, a deadly virus spread to people from the saliva of infected dogs, and river blindness, a parasitic tropical disease that affects the skin and eyes.

He explained that health officials in the Aboh community in Ndokwa East Local Government Area reported to the agency that two persons had died, while others are undergoing local treatment following the wave of dog bites in the community.

“The report also said that the villagers have started killing dogs following the development in a bid to check the incidence of dog bites.

“We will dispatch a team of experts to the Aboh community to confirm the actual situation so as to know the next line of action”, Mr Anioghora said.

He lamented the low awareness of the dangers associated with rabies and snake bite among residents under the NTDs, hence, the non-availability of drugs to treat such diseases.

According to him, apart from rabies and snake bite, river blindness, soil-transmitted helminths, elephantiasis, schistosomiasis, and trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness) also fall under the NTDs, of which public awareness in the state has been below average.

He said that over the years, there has been little public awareness about the health implications of these diseases in the state.

On the latest report of suspected rabies in the Aboh community, the state coordinator called for support from stakeholders in primary health care and donor agencies.