FG, USAID move against tropical diseases in Cross River, others
The Federal Government and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) have stepped up efforts to eradicate tropical diseases in 10 local councils of Cross River and over 490 other areas across the federation.
Speaking during a meeting at the weekend in Calabar to evaluate the First Lymphatic Filariasis Transmission Assessment Survey in the state, the Chief of Party and Resident Programme Adviser, Research Triangle Institute (RTI) International in Nigeria, Ben Nwobi, named the tropical diseases to include Ankylostomiasis (river blindness); Lymphatic Filariasis and Schistosomiasis.
He said: “There are 32 states in the country that have Ankylostomiasis, including Cross River. We are in the process of evaluating 17 years of treatment of the disease in Cross River. That is on the way coming.
“We have just reported more than 10 years of treatment of Lymphatic Filariasis in Cross River and over 500 LGAs in this country are affected by Lymphatic Filiariasis, including 10 LGAs in Cross River. Seven right now show that they have broken transmission but we can not confirm that until the next four years.”
Nwobi went on: “Virtually all LGAs in this country have soil-transmitted ailments and the whole nation is involved in combating all of them.”He said, “USAID is supporting us in RTI to work in Cross River through the envisioned project and other centres that are working in nine other southern and northerner states to eliminate tropical diseases in the country.”
The Cross River Steering Committee Chairman of the Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) and former vice chancellor of the University of Lafia, Professor Eka Braide, pointed out that the state could do more but for the challenge of non-payment of counterpart fund.
Also speaking, Director of NTDs in the Federal Ministry of Health, Dr. Chukwuma Anyaike, stated that no state in the entire south had achieved much like Cross River, appealing to the state government to pay up counterpart funds and back up budgetary provisions for NTDs with cash. The Permanent Secretary, State Ministry of Health, Dr. Joseph Bassey, applauding the success of the survey, added: “Our aim was to target the transmission line through the children and break the circle. Sometimes, it affects fertility. We break it early in life.”
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