The government of Nigeria has began the search for solutions to the rising cases of schistosomiasis, onchocerciasis, lymphatic filariasis and other Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) in the country with the aim of reversing projections that it could become one of the global epicenters of the diseases in the nearest future.Result of two studies on the Global Disease Burden have revealed a troubling trend of NTDs in Nigeria. The first study conducted in 2013 found that, globally, Nigeria had the largest number of cases of certain NTDs including schistosomiasis, the second largest number of cases of onchocerciasis, and the third largest number of cases of lymphatic filariasis.
A follow-up analysis of the study in 2017 further showed that Nigeria has overtaken both India and Indonesia as the nation with the largest numbers of lymphatic filariasis cases, and alongside the Democratic Republic of Congo, may now have the world’s highest cases of malaria.
In a move to reverse this, the Nigerian Federal Government has linked up with the International Scientific Council for Research and Control of Trypanosomiasis in a partnership they hope would eradicate the scourge of NTDs in Africa.
To take this further, a delegation of the institute recently visited Nigeria where they met senior members of staff of the country’s Federal Ministry of Science and Technology.
Nigeria is scheduled to host the Bi-annual conference on Trypanosomiasis control to hold from 23rd to 27th of September 2019.
Members of the delegation from the International Nigeria’s Trypanosomiasis research agency is modeled after that of the International Institute and expressed gratitude for the assistance received from the institute.
He also urged members of the International delegation, to inspect facilities at the Nigerian Institute of Trypanosomiasis Research and advise on possible ways the institute can improve its research activities.
Earlier, the Director for Inter African Bureau for Animal Resources, Prof. Ahmed El-Sawalhy said the challenge of the disease was an African problem which must be solved by Africans.
He highlighted the role of scientists, researchers and stakeholders, especially from the 39 member states and urged them to come up with possible solutions to control and effectively combat the disease.
The Director-General of The Nigerian Institute for Trypanosomiasis and Onchocerciasis Research, Dr. Augustine Igwe said all hands must be on deck to control the spread of the disease. He said the disease could still recur from border nations and stressed the need to effectively fight it off.
Dr. Igwe extolled the role of the Agency in publicizing the dangers of the disease, which he described as being domiciled in rural agrarian communities and highlighted the key techniques adopted to effectively reach the populace, which includes town-hall meetings and campaign messages in the local language of the affected communities.