By Tobias Lengnan Dapam
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has revealed that about 122 million persons are at risk of contacting Neglected Tropical Disease (NTDs) in the country.
Specifically, the Minister said children are the most affected by NTDs.
Speaking on Wednesday at a media dialogue organised by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Information on NTDs in Ibadan, Muhammed said the dialogue was aimed training health journalists to understand the challenges posed by NTDs.
Represented by the Head, Child Rights Information Bureau, Mercy Megwa, the minister urged journalists to champion the advocacy on eliminating NTDs in the country.
She averred that NTDs in Nigeria are associated with the rural areas because of poverty and unhealthy living conditions.
In his presentation, Dr. Chukwuma Anyaike, National NTD Coordinator, said over twelve NTDs are identified in Nigeria with twenty conditions detected globally.
He said 1.5 billion people are affected by these diseases globally with 40 per cent of whom live in Africa.
According to him, findings have shown that 122 million persons are at risk of contacting one or more of the disease.
“Two out of every three Nigerians are at risk of one or more of these neglected tropical diseases.
“Out of which 20 percent are pre-school aged children; 28 percent, school aged children (5-14 years) and 52 percent, adult age – 15 and above,” he said.
Anyaike also identified poor funding and lackadaisical attitudes of government as major challenges in eliminating NTDs in the country.