In a profound step towards rising the well-being of people living with Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), the Federal Government (FG) has partnered with several non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to address the pressing issue of mental healthcare for those affected by NTDs.
She said that over 160 million Nigerians are at risk of contracting NTDs, and the lack of mental health support for these individuals has become a pressing issue.
The project, to run from 1st August 2023 – 31st January 2025, targets nearly 1,000 persons with NTDs morbidity with mental healthcare services and support. Also, over 50,000 people at risk of contracting the disease will be reached with awareness campaigns.
Partners for the project include: Federal Ministry of Health; Health and Development Support Programme (HANDS); RedAid Nigeria (RAN); The Leprosy Mission Nigeria (TLMN); International Association for Integration, Dignity and Economic Advancement (IDEA) and Jos University Teaching Hospital.
National Daily Newspaper reports that NTDs are a diverse group of infectious diseases, often prevalent in low-income countries, that affect more than a billion individuals worldwide. While the physical symptoms of NTDs range from chronic pain to disabilities, victims often suffer from emotional distress, mental health issues, and stigmatization due to their condition.
According to Umoh, This project aligns with our Country Strategy Plan: Collaborative Actions to End the Cycle of Poverty & Disabilities (COLLABO: 2023 – 2026), Strategic Objective which seeks to improve Access to quality inclusive education, comprehensive, affordable, and holistic health services (eye care/NTDs, mental health services etc.).
“Our advocacy supports and amplifies the voices of people with disabilities, from community to global level. Our advisory approach is undertaken with the best technical experts on disability inclusion – people with disabilities themselves.
Available evidence shows that NTDs contribute to about 1% of the global burden of disease and cause devastating human, social and economic impact on over one billion people globally – an estimated 40% of whom are in the African region. In Nigeria, an estimated 168 million people (nearly 80% of the population) are at risk of at least one NTD.
Also speaking, the permanent secretary of Ministry of Health, Kachollom Daju, represented by the Director/National Coordinator, NTDs, Fatai Bamiyi Oyediran, while highlighting the dangers of NTDs, said Nigeria accounts for a staggering 40 per cent of tropical diseases globally.
He said: “The disease affects the poorest of the poor, the most vulnerable people who live in the heart of each part of Africa with poor sanitation, lack of potable water and deficient healthcare access.
NTDs disfigures, disables and keeps children out of school as well as keeping parents out of work, limiting their potential and living communities in perpetual poverty.
NTDs hold a devastating obstacle to the national progress towards the achievement of universal health coverage and remains a serious impediment to poverty reduction, economic wealth and social development.
To deepen the integration, and in line with the WHO NTD roadmap 2030, the Nigerian NTD master plan 2023-2027 adopted a cross-cutting programmatic approach that provides a framework for co implementation of mental health and NTD in Nigeria.
The government is ready to tackle this chaotic situation National Daily Newspaper gathered.