The Nigeria Case Study in NTD Control Efforts
Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) are a category of 20 diseases mostly found in the tropics. These diseases are termed neglected because they, unfortunately, receive relatively little attention from national governments and are of low priority for international public health issues. NTDs are endemic in 149 out of 193 countries worldwide, representing 77.2% of the global distribution. More than a billion people, including more than 500 million children, are afflicted by at least one NTD, and 500,000 people die each year because of infections. The global burden of NTDs has brought them to the limelight and consequently resulted in efforts towards controlling and eliminating them, culminating in the WHO 2021 to 2030 road map that targets NTDs for elimination by 2030. The Federal Ministry of Health of Nigeria initiated a program for national NTD control and elimination in 2009. This program focuses on integrated and cost-effective approaches to control and/or eliminate NTDs. As a follow-up to the 2009 national NTD program, Nigeria keyed into the first road map that aimed at the eradication or prevention of transmission by the year 2020 and the second road map which aims to eliminate them by 2030. These have resulted in some modest successes, particularly in the eradication of guinea worm, mapping of onchocerciasis and Lymphatic filariasis as well as mass distribution of drugs. There are several challenges faced in the NTDs control and elimination efforts as identified in this paper and solutions proffered. NTDs in Nigeria still constitute major public health problems and obstacles to socioeconomic development. It is expected that greater action/commitment will be taken in the new 2021-2030 road map tagged to achieve the set targets for the elimination of NTDs by the end of 2030.