Lagos State, Partners, Take Bold Steps To Combat Elephantiasis

In a significant stride towards ending Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), the Lagos State Ministry of Health (LSMOH) has joined forces with Mission to Save the Helpless (MITOSATH) to carry out Mass Administration of Medicines (MAM) in endemic Local Government Areas (LGAs) within the state, targeting Elephantiasis—a debilitating ailment with far-reaching social and economic consequences for affected communities.

Programme Manager of the National Lymphatic Filariasis Elimination Programme LSMOH, Mrs. Chinwe Okoye, underscores the Mass Administration of Medicines as a resolute commitment by the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) and the Lagos State Government to confront the disease head-on.

“The Mass Administration of Medicines signifies the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) and Lagos State Government commitment to tackle LF head-on”, she said.

Okoye further emphasises that the campaign exemplifies the remarkable outcomes achievable when governments, healthcare professionals, non-governmental organisations, and communities unite with a shared vision.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Elephantiasis, also known as Lymphatic Filariasis (LF), stands among the neglected tropical diseases, stemming from filarial parasites transmitted to humans through mosquito bites. The infection typically occurs during childhood, with painful and disfiguring symptoms manifesting much later in life, often involving the enlargement of body parts, causing pain, severe disability, and social stigma.

Director of Epidemiology, Biosecurity, and Global Health in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Ismail Abdus-Salam, highlights the global prevalence of NTDs, afflicting over one billion people, primarily in developing regions of Africa, Asia, and South America.

He notes Nigeria’s substantial burden in this regard, contributing to 25% of Africa’s NTD cases, with 774 LGAs in Nigeria being endemic for one or more NTDs, placing more than 120 million individuals at risk.

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“NTDs are communicable diseases that have long been associated with poverty due to their prevalence in areas with inadequate sanitation, water supply, and substandard housing conditions,” Executive Director of MITOSATH, a prominent non-governmental organisation leading the fight against NTDs in Nigeria, Dr. Francisca Olamiju, elucidates.

Neglected tropical diseases affect the marginalised and the vulnerable communities, aggravating their sufferings manifold. With low-cost and highly effective drugs and treatments.

In the pursuit of a healthier, more equitable, and sustainable future for all, the WHO remains steadfast in its commitment to supporting initiatives aimed at eliminating these diseases.

 

Report by Blessing Osemobor

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