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FG misses 2020, sets 2030 as fresh target to eliminate tropical diseases

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122m Nigerians at risk of contracting ailments
One year after the end of the projected 2020 date for elimination of 15 major Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) by the Federal government, only one of the sicknesses has been eradicated.

This came as statistics show that about 122 million Nigerians, representing two out of every three citizens, are at risk of contracting one or more NTDs.

Of these numbers, 20 per cent are pre-school age children; 28 per cent are school age children (five-14 years) while 12 per cent (15 years and above) are adults.

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Nigeria, under its Vision 2020 initiative, targeted the elimination of 15 NTDs. One year after the projected date, however, only guinea worm has been overcome.

National coordinator of NTDs Control/Elimination/Eradication Programme, Dr Nseboh Akpan, who disclosed this, yesterday, at a media dialogue on the ailments, said government has set 2030 as new target.

The event was organised by the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) in collaboration with the Child Rights Bureau of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture.

Akpan blamed the country’s inability to eliminate any other NTD in the last eight years, following the elimination of guinea worm, on lack of commitment especially poor funding.

He warned that NTDs cause end-organ damages due to chronic infections and pose a devastating obstacle to the attainment of Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

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