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

African States Push to Keep Boko Haram Offline

Central African telecoms ministers working with Nigeria to block all videos posted by Boko Haram in effort to blunt Nigerian militant group's propaganda More

Falling Oil Prices, Internet-Savvy Youth Pose Challenge for Gulf Monarchies

Across the Gulf, younger generations are putting a strain on traditional politics More

Philippines Call Center Workers Face Challenges

Country has world’s largest business process outsourcing, or BPO, industry, employing some one-million workers 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More