Experts on Neglected Tropical Diseases have converged in Abuja to hold their 19th steering committee meeting.
The committee is to review its activities, discuss progress or otherwise and proffer solutions to some of the challenges in eliminating Neglected Tropical Diseases in Nigeria.
The steering committee is the highest decision making body on Neglected Tropical Diseases.
They meet bi-anually to make policy decisions and recommendations to the Minister of Health for consideration and implementation.
In an interview with journalists, the Deputy Director, Neglected Tropical Diseases, Federal Ministry of Health, Chukwu Oronroko, said Neglected Tropical Diseases are diseases that occur in rural areas among the poor people that cannot afford treatment.
Oronroko enumerated the diseases to include Trachoma, Buruli ulcer, Trypanosomiasis, Dengue Fever, Schistosomiasis, River Blindness, Lymphatic Filariasis, Onchocerciasis and Soil Transmitted Helminthes.
He said the good news is that the committee is distributing free medicines to the patients and this is making positive impacts as in some states these diseases are no more endemic.
He added: “Now we have some places in this country that some of these diseases are not re-occurring again as a result of the intervention of this committee in the recent past, and this is encouraging.”
Oronroko urged the media to help in creating awareness among Nigerians on these Neglected Tropical Diseases.
Earlier, the Chairperson of the Steering Committee, Prof. Adenike Abiose, said the Neglected Tropical Diseases are major problems globally, Nigeria inclusive.
Abiose said to control and possibly eliminate the diseases are the main focus of the Committee under the direction of the Federal Ministry of Health.