The World Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) Day is celebrated on 30th January, every year. The day is set aside to create awareness about the burden of NTDs and the suffering they cause the over 1 billion people in the world’s most vulnerable communities who have been put to vicious cycle of disease and poverty.
This year, the World Health Organization (WHO) is calling on everybody, including leaders and communities, to unite and act to address the inequalities that drive neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) and to make bold, sustainable investments to ensure their elimination.
In line with the objectives of this global celebration, the Ondo State Primary Health Care Development Agency (OSPHCDA) embarked on awareness creation and health education activities on radio, schools and market, to mark the day.
Early in the morning, the Director of Medical Services, Dr Paulinus K. Omode, was featured on a radio programme “Eyi Ara’’ on Crest FM as guest speaker to speak on NTDs to create mass awareness and educate the entire people of Ondo State on these diseases, what they are, the burden, causes/mode of transmission, symptoms/signs and prevention. He also used the opportunity to highlight the efforts of the Ondo State government in NTDs elimination to include: training of health workers on NTDs and current elimination strategies; training of Community Directed Distributors (Community Implementers); Training of School Teachers on Schistosomiasis and Soil Transmitted Helminthes in School aged Children; Mass Administration Medicines in all endemic communities annually; treatment of over 300 people people with hydrocele through free surgery between the last quarter of 2022 and June, 2023; Hygiene promotion and Community Led Total Sanitation trainings and interventions and the establishment of the integrated NTD clinic for case management which is the first of its kind in any PHC system in Nigeria. These activities were done in partnership with Mission To Save The Helpless (MITOSATH).
Health talk and education on NTDs using the school and market platforms was also carried out on this same day. The pupils of St Francis, St Martins and St Michael Catholic Primary Schools all in Akure were given health talks on NTDs including Schistosomiasis, Soil Transmitted Helminthiasis, Onchocerciasis and Lymphatic filariasis including their causes and prevention. They also received health education on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene. This activity was done by the NTDs Unit led by the NTDs Programme Manager, Olatunji Emmanuel Omoniyi, in collaboration with the School Health Services Unit of the Agency.
Apart from the school platform, members of the public at Mojere market in Ilesa garage, Akure were given health talks on the prevalence, prevention and treatment of the Neglected Tropical Diseases in the state. This was done in collaboration with the Parasitology and Public Health Society of Nigeria (PPSN) led by Professor Oniya of the Federal University of Technology, Akure.
This year’s World NTDs Day was celebrated in grand style by the OSPHCDA with a huge success.