Sunday, September 20, 2015 7:08 pm
By Jethro Ibileke/Benin.
A Director in the Federal Ministry of Health, Dr. (Mrs.) Bridget Okeguale, has raised the alarm that tropical diseases like River Blindness and Elephantiasis, were on the rise in the country. Dr. (Mrs.) Okeguale also lamented that the challenge of distributing the prescribed drugs for the diseases was hindering effort by development partners to tackle the scourge, even as she revealed that some patients were in the habit of throwing away the drugs freely given to them by development partners.
She raised the alarm when she led officials of the Ministry and members of Carter Foundation, Emeka Offor Foundation and Yakubu Gowon Foundation, on an advocacy visit to Edo State Ministries of Health and Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs at the weekend in Benin. She however assured that the Federal Ministry of Health has commenced advocacy to arrest the increasing rate of Onchocerciasis (River Blindness) and Lymphatic Filariar (Elephantiasis) in the country.
While explaining that the advocacy which she said was in conjunction with Foundation partners, was targeted at eradicating River Blindness by 2020 and Elephantiasis by 2025, Dr. (Mrs.) Okeguale said that Nigeria does not want to be left behind on the deadline given by World Health Organisation (WHO), and therefore solicited communities’ support in ensuring that the drugs get to the grassroots. “There should be multi-sectoral approach. Ministry of Health should take the lead,” she said and called for a budget line for the neglected tropical diseases to change the tide.
Responding, Edo State Commissioner for Health, Dr. (Mrs.) Aihanuwa Eregie, assured that the state was working hard to set up its Primary Health Development Agency.