Abuja – The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, has called for collaboration among stakeholders towards eliminating blinding trachoma in Nigeria.
Adewole made the call on Tuesday in Abuja at an occasion to celebrate the progress and collaborative efforts towards eliminating blinding trachoma in the country.
He said that trachoma was the leading cause of infectious blindness responsible for 1.2 million blind people worldwide.
The minister recalled that Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) are a diverse group of mainly 17 diseases that blight the lives of more than a billion people worldwide, noting that Nigeria currently focuses on 11 of the 17 WHO-listed diseases.
He said that the government has launched a robust and integrated multi-year national plan to control, eradicate and eliminate NTDs in Nigeria.
Adewole described the strategy for the elimination of blinding trachoma endorsed by the WHO as “safe strategy’’.
He said that they include Component Surgery for blinding trichiasis, antibiotics for treatment of active disease, facial cleanliness and environmental improvement.
“Guided by the global vision of eliminating target NTDs by 2020, this plan has been revised and updated with support from the World Health Organisation.
“States have also developed and updated state-specific plans that will facilitate the determination of priority locations, identification of those most at risk, and efficient delivery of treatments in an integrated manner,’’ he said.
Adewole commended other development partners and donor agencies for collaborating with the ministry in the implementation of the national NTD master plan and consequently in the elimination and control of NTDs in Nigeria.
He said that the elimination of these diseases would be a major contribution to poverty alleviation and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
He further said that the elimination of NTDs from Nigeria in line with the global goal was challenging, but was a task that must be fulfilled. (NAN)