News / Africa

Northern Nigeria Project Aims to Eliminate ‘Neglected Diseases’

The Nigerian government and the NGO called Sightsavers work to eliminate several diseases spread by water-born parasites

A recent survey by Sightsavers and the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Health shows 7 of every 10 children of school age in the northern state of Zamfara are infected with one or more neglected tropical diseases(NTDs).

The World Health Organization has categorized 18 diseases as NTDs which affect over 1.4 billion people around the world. These diseases cause sickness and disability which affect children’s mental and physical development. Two of them, trachoma and onchocerciasis, lead to blindness if not treated.

A model primary school supported by UNICEF is located in Furi in Bungudu Local Government Area of Zamfara.

A pupil is treated for schistosomiasis in Fur Furi in Bungudu local government area
A pupil is treated for schistosomiasis in Fur Furi in Bungudu local government area

Dayyasi Lawali is a ten-year-old pupil there. He’s been living with a parasitic disease called schistosomiasis for several years. If it goes untreated, it can damage internal organs and impair growth and mental development.

Today, with a single dose of the tablet, prazequantel, he is cured of the condition, thanks to a treatment program directed by the community with support from Sightsavers and the Federal Ministry of Health.

Sightsavers is an international charity that works to prevent avoidable blindness while promoting equal opportunity for disabled people in the developing world.

In this case it’s working on a program that goes beyond vision care to controlling NTDS.

They affect the poorest, most marginalized people, who often live in remote areas or urban slums.

The diseases increase poverty by reducing one’s ability to earn a living. In severe cases people can’t work or care for themselves or their families, which increases the chances of children having to drop out of school to care for the family.

Dr. Ibrahim Nazaradeen is medical director at King Fahad Ibn Abdul-Aziz Women and Children Hospital, Gusau.  He’s also the program manager of the Zamfara State Eye Care Program.  He provides clinical advice on the control of the Neglected Tropical Diseases project in the state:

Other illnesses include onchosiachiasis, helmenthiasis, schistomiasis, lymphatic filariasis and trachoma.  But attention has not been given to them and that is why this issue of neglected tropical diseases comes.”

The diseases are often overlooked in health planning. Sightsavers and the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Health and Zamfara State Ministry of Health are hoping to protect over 1.3 million people from neglected tropical diseases in Zamfara state.

Dr. Nazaharadeen describes the damage done by some of these illnesses:

With schistosomiasis, you see children passing [blood into the] urine sometimes [well into] adulthood.  With onchocerciasis [river blindness] you have manifestations on the skin as well, just like lymphatic filariasis [elephantiasis], in which you have body swollen in some part of the body like the scrotum, the legs, and even on the limbs.”

He says if these diseases are not treated in time, they can kill or cause severe, possibly lifelong, physical impairment.

One of the beneficiaries of the effort , pupil Dayyasi Lawali, explains how his treatment helps him:If I pass urine, it normally comes with blood, but since I took some tablets in school after some time the [bleeding] stopped.”

He’s not alone. Almost 9 out of 11 pupils in that school and many others in Furi-Furi town benefit from the same treatment.  Older people in several other communities in about 11 local government areas of the state also benefit.

The treatment combines drugs for the illness with public education on how to avoid water sources containing parasites.

You May Like

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid