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

TEXT SIZE - +

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

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Replaced

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. 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.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid