DANIELS G .O
NEGLECTED TROPICAL DISEASES: LAGOS TO SCALE UP INTERVENTION IN ENDEMIC LGAs & WARDS – ABAYOMI
Lagos State Government is set to scale up interventions for endemic Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) especially Schistosomiasis and soil –transmitted helminth in local government and wards with prevalence of the diseases, the Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi has said.
Abayomi who made this known today at a Data Dissemination Workshop on Schistosomiasis Implementation in Lagos State organized by Federal Ministry of Health in collaboration with Lagos State Ministry of Health and a non-governmental organization Mission to Save the Helpless (MITOSATH), noted that interventions aimed at the control and elimination of NTDs will be accorded the priority it deserves as part of the State government’s disease surveillance control programme and policies.
The Commissioner who was represented by the Director, Epidemiology, Biosecurity and Global Health, Dr. Ismail Abdul-Salam explained that adequate budgetary provision has been made for various NTDs activities outlined for implementation by the Neglected Tropical Disease Unit of the State Ministry of Health as part of the scale up of interventions.
He said: “The Lagos State Government is giving priority, support and consideration to the control and elimination of NTDs, the headship of the State Ministry of Health and Primary Health Care Board are passionate about the control of NTDs and we are now more committed to ensuring that we achieve reasonable control in record time.
“We know that Lagos State has a high prevalence of some Neglected Tropical Diseases especially Schistosomiasis in some of our local government areas. We have several diseases on the list of NTDs and the level of endemicity varies from one LGA to another.
“The bone of contention for this particular dissemination is the intervention that we implemented in year 2019 against Schistosomiasis in about seven LGAs in the state and we had a very good therapeutic coverage of about 87% and we need to disseminate these data to stakeholders, so that going forward, we can improve on the implementation that we had in respect to mass administration of medicines against Schistosomiasis and other NTDs.
“We are glad that we are able to achieve 87% therapeutic coverage of mass administration of medicines against schistosomiasis.This would not have been possible without the support of the Federal Ministry of Health through the National Programme on NTD and active collaboration of MITOSATH and other partners including the World Health Organization (WHO)”.
While expressing satisfaction at the successful implementation of the 2019 Mass Administration of Medicines against Schistosomiasis sponsored by MITOSATH and WHO, Abayomi noted that late commencement of NTDs interventions in Lagos has not deterred the State government from showing exemplary leadership to other states in this regard.
He stated that the State government has taken a cue from lessons learnt from the 2019 Mass Administration of Medicines against Schistosomiasis to rejig interventions targeted at control and elimination Neglected Tropical Diseases in Lagos.
The Commissioner appealed to partners to support the State government in the drive towards the control of NTDs by targeting identified gaps in various NTDs interventions for effective strategic and effective implementation.
“NTDs are common in environments where there are issues of water, this is why sanitation and hygiene is very important. These are issues that if taken care of, we will have a much reduced prevalence of NTDs.
“That is why going beyond the Ministry of Health, other line ministries and MDAs like Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, Local Government and Community Affairs and Ministry of Education and Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation are involved in our interventions because some the interventions are carried out for school age children at the ward and community level”, Abayomi said.
Earlier in her remarks, the Executive Director of MITOSATH, Dr. Fransisca Olamiju stated that Lagos State is the first State in Nigeria to implement Mass Administration of Medicines against Schistosomiasis using ward level strategy stressing that the strategy has been found to be very effective.
“We were worried initially that Lagos State is coming into the NTDs Mass Administration of Medicines late but when the State stepped in, they showed that in anything they do, they excel beautifully” she said.
According to her, the dissemination workshop has afforded various NTD stakeholders and partners the opportunity to share the knowledge, best practices, and lessons learnt from implementation of Mass Administration of Medicines in Lagos State.
Olamiju added that the implementation of Mass Administration of Medicines afforded the State government and implementing partners to introduce ward level strategy interventions which has been found to be successful for immunization programmes and other health interventions alongside the LGA based intervention.
“So based on the advice we got from WHO and the Federal Ministry of Health, we started to use ward based strategy. Today, Lagos is getting an outstanding performance award for achieving a therapeutic coverage of close to 87%. This goes to show that the ward based strategy intervention is effective. So it is something exciting for us and we are happy also because the partners that funded the campaign are also here to celebrate this success”, she said.
While noting that another campaign for Mass Administration of Medicines against Schistosomiasis would soon commence in some endemic wards in Lagos State, the Executive Director posited that safe water, good sanitation and hygiene especially proper and regular hand washing practice including putting an end to open defecation is vital to eliminating Schistosomiasis.
Olamiju appealed for a private sector engagement for the elimination of the disease adding that they should always remember that there is NTD burden in Lagos as they look at their corporate social responsibility.
Representative of the World Health Organization, Dr. Sulaiman Aliyu stated that WHO remains committed to providing free medicines for the treatment of Neglected Tropical diseases as its usual practice.
“The World Health Organization is committed to providing all the medicines. Year after year WHO facilitates the donation of millions of tablets for the Neglected Tropical Diseases” He said.
Director, Public Affairs
15th September, 2021
Picture 1: National Coordinator, NTDs, Federal Ministry of Health, Dr. Nse Akpan presenting an Outstanding Performance Award to the Director, Epidemiology, Biosecurity and Global Health, Lagos State Ministry of Health, Dr. Ismail Abdul-Salam in recognition of Lagos State implementation of Ward level Schistosomiasis Mass Administration of Medicines, with them is the Executive Director MITOSATH, Dr. Francisca Olamiju (left) during the Dissemination of Data for Schistosomiasis and Soil Transmitted Helminthes in Lagos State.
Picture 2: From L-R: National Professional Officer, WHO, Dr. Suleiman Aliyu; Director, Epidemiology, Biosecurity and Global Health, Lagos State Ministry of Health, Dr. Ismail Abdul-Salam; National Coordinator, NTDs, Federal Ministry of Health, Dr. Nse Akpan and the Executive Director MITOSATH, Dr. Francisca Olamiju at the Dissemination of Data for Schistosomiasis and Soil Transmitted Helminthes in Lagos State.
Picture 7: National Coordinator, NTDs, Federal Ministry of Health, Dr. Nse Akpan presenting an Outstanding Performance Award to the Director, Epidemiology, Biosecurity and Global Health, Lagos State Ministry of Health, Dr. Ismail Abdul-Salam in recognition of Lagos State implementation of Ward level Schistosomiasis Mass Administration of Medicines, with them is the Executive Director MITOSATH, Dr. Francisca Olamiju (left) during the Dissemination of Data for Schistosomiasis and Soil Transmitted Helminthes in Lagos State.