The World Health Organisation (WHO) has scaled up support to help the Nigerian government eliminate over 20 Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) that remain endemic in the country.
The projects are meant to help the country achieve the goals set in its 2012 NTD roadmap which prioritized 3 diseases for control, 5 for elimination and 2 for complete eradication.
In a statement, the WHO said it is presently focused on NTDs that can be controlled through mass drug chemoprophylaxis while helping the government to identify local government areas (LGAs) with high disease burdens.
The WHO will also donate drugs for mass administration operations as well as monitoring the effectiveness of such MDA projects. Among other forms of support, the WHO said it has provided Nigeria with over 60 million Praziquantel tablets for the treatment of schistosomiasis, commonly known as bilharzia.
The project is ongoing and covers 583 local government area that have been mapped out as high-risk disease outbreak zones. Nigeria is also implementing MDA campaigns for Lymphatic Filariasis (LF), Soil Transmitted Helminthiasis (STH), Onchocerciasis (Oncho) and Trachoma.
In December 2017, Nigeria accounted for nearly 50% of the global burden of NTDs. The WHO campaign involves educational campaigns on safe water, disease awareness and capacity building for behavioural change.
Health workers will also be trained to recognize, monitor and report suspected cases.