February 26, 2024

Lara Adejoro

Every January 30 is dedicated to commemorating World Neglected Tropical Diseases Day. The day is set aside to create awareness of the devastating impact of NTDs on the poorest populations around the world.

The day is also an opportunity to call on everyone to support the growing momentum for the control, elimination, and eradication of these diseases.

As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to observe World Neglected Tropical Diseases Day, here are 10 things to know about NTDs:

1. NTDs are a diverse group of 20 conditions that are mainly prevalent in tropical areas, where they affect more than one billion people who live in impoverished communities.

2. They are caused by a variety of pathogens including viruses, bacteria, parasites, fungi, and toxins. These diseases cause devastating health, social and economic consequences to more than one billion people.

3. These diseases are “neglected” because they are almost absent from the global health agenda, receive little funding, and are associated with stigma and social exclusion.

4. Nigeria is one of the most endemic countries in the world for NTDs.

5. There are more than 15 NTDs in Nigeria.

6. The NTDs in Nigeria include elephantiasis, soil-transmitted helminthiasis, river blindness, trachoma, schistosomiasis, snakebites, leishmaniasis, Human African Trypanosomiasis, mycetoma, rabies, leprosy, yaws, fascioliasis, scabies.

7. The diseases are found in the country’s poorest areas with inadequate or no access to clean water, basic sanitation, and healthcare.

8. The diseases are associated with stigma and social exclusion.

9. They cause more long-term suffering than death.

10. The 2023 World NTDs’ theme tagged “Act now. Act together. Invest in neglected tropical diseases” spotlights on NTDs and the suffering they cause, and calls for comprehensive and universal care for those affected by them.

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