Nigeria Launches Plan for Neglected Tropical Diseases

February 19, 2013

Abuja, Nigeria:  19 February 2013 — Nigeria has launched its 5-year implementation plan (also called NTD Master Plan) for the control of neglected tropical diseases. This launch comes weeks after the first year commemoration of the ‘London declaration’, an occasion that governments, pharmaceutical multinationals and donors pledged improved commitment to end the scourge of NTDs globally.

Observing that Nigeria has the greatest burden of NTDs in sub-Saharan Africa, the Health Minister highlighted significant progress made in their control. He said the country is on the threshold of being certified free of guinea worm disease. In addition, a number of States have interrupted the transmission of river blindness infection. Prof Chukwu said Nigeria has endorsed and signed on to the refocusing of river blindness targets from control to elimination, in line with the mandate given toWHO’s African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control (APOC), a regional body overseeing the control of river blindness.

Successful implementation of the Plan “will rely heavily on strong political commitments and partnership supports at all levels. An unprecedented momentum now exists among the international health community to overcome the global impact of NTDs". - Dr. Ali Pate, Nigerian Health Minister

In a Welcome Address, the Minister of State for Health, Dr Ali Pate, observed that “no government anywhere in the world can address its challenges in every sphere without recourse to partners, stakeholders and the international community”. He said that if NTDs or other public health problemsare not addressed in Nigeria they will have “serious repercussions not only for the sub-region but for Africa and the global community”. Dr Pate expressed his appreciation to pharmaceutical companies and all partners “who have contributed in various ways to end the ‘neglect’ in neglected tropical diseases” all of which add up to “Saving one million lives”.

A foremost philanthropist and retired army General, T. Y. Danjuma, represented at the event, pledged his continued support to the campaign against NTDs, and called for improved partnerships. Two Nigerian scientists, Prof Adetokunbo Lucas (retired WHO-TDR Director) and Dr Uche Amazigo (retired APOC Director) were some of the eminent personalities that attended the epoch-making ceremony.Prof Onyebuchi Chukwu thanked all partners, especially WHO country office and Regional Office for Africa in supporting the development of the Nigeria’s NTD Master Plan .

Nigeria’s NTD Multi-Year Plan requires US$332million (49 billion naira) for the treatment of more than 60 million affected population annually over the next five years.


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