The State Government has stepped up effort to completely eliminate the 5 highest burden Neglected Topical Diseases in the State.
The Commissioner for Health, Prof. Augustine Umoh made this known in his address to mark the 2021 occasion of the World Neglected Topical Disease Day.
Prof. Umoh explained that the diseases were mostly neglected as they kill slower than other ailments such as malaria.
He lamented that while people did not really pay attention to those diseases, they were responsible for a high level of deformity, disability, social Isolation, stigmatization and destitution.
The Health Commissioner who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Dr Patrick Essiet identified the 5 highest burden Neglected Topical Diseases as Elephantiasis, River Blindness, Bilharsziasis, blinding Trachoma and intestinal worms.
He said they were prevalent in areas with poor hygienic conditions, poverty and ignorance and threatened more than 1.5 billion people globally.
The Commissioner stated that though the diseases were life threatening, highly effective preventive chemotherapy can assist the condition.
He said the State Government had been very aggressive in the fight for the control and elimination of NTDs and had achieved 75% therapeutic coverage.
Prof. Umoh said that the state recorded the stride through intensifying risk communication, social mobilization, community engagement as well as mass administration of medicine in endemic communities and schools with some of the endemic communities being treated for upward of 10 years.
The Commissioner held that while the achievement was commendable, there was need to continue to educate the public on the need for proper environmental sanitation, improved personal hygiene and early reporting for diagnosis and treatment.
He identified the Helen Keller International as the supporting partner in the fight against NTDs and appreciated the body for what he described as unrelenting technical and financial support in the drive.
Prof. Umoh lauded Governor Udom Emmanuel whom he said has always set the pace in health matters amongst his peers.
He said despite all the resources the state government was committing towards containing the Corona virus pandemic, it was not relenting efforts in curbing other health challenges.
The Commissioner urged members of the public to reciprocate the gesture by shunning risky behaviors, making particular reference to adherence to the COVID-19 preventive protocols.