THE Federal Government yesterday in Abuja advised parents and caregivers to allow health workers to administer deworming drugs to children for the prevention of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs).
It made the call during a community outreach for the treatment of schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminthiasis.
Helminthiasis is an infestation with one or more intestinal parasitic roundworms that include whipworms, hookworms and ascaris.
Giving the advice, Fatai Oyediran, Director, Snake Envenoming Unit, NTDs Division at the Ministry of Health, decried the poor response by parents availing their children for the mass drug administration to prevent NTDs.
Oyediran noted that NTDs often affected people in rural communities, especially the poor because of poor personal hygiene, inadequate water supply and infrastructure at the grassroots.
“Some of these diseases affect children under the age of five and that is why we target communities and schools to give free drugs.
“We advise parents to cooperate with health workers because some parents, probably due to personal or religious beliefs, prevent children from taking the drugs and this is doing more damage than good.
“We encourage them to allow health workers to give the drugs to their children whenever they come for mass administration of drugs,” he said.
In his remarks, Dr Eunice Ogundipe, NTDs Coordinator in the FCT, said the outreach and the NTDs Day celebration was a call for all stakeholders to collaborate to eliminate the diseases in totality.
“We are here to sensitise and create awareness in this school and its environment.
“We shall go to various communities for mobilisation, awareness creation and sensitisation.
“We want community ownership of the programme and we want to have more participants in our mass administration of medicines.
“If communities buy into the programme, we will achieve results. It will allow people know about NTDs and know that everybody is at risk,” she said.
Dr Nse Akpan, National Coordinator, NTDs, Federal Ministry of Health reiterated the commitment of the ministry to reduce NTDs-induced morbidity and mortality by ensuring children were administered with deworming drugs.
“If we work together to eliminate NTDs in Nigeria, then we will be free of their challenges,” he stressed.
Helen Adejayan, Head Teacher at the Local Education Authority Primary School, Durumi I, Abuja, where the outreach held, also spoke at the event.
The theme for the 2023 NTDS Day is: “Act now, Act Together, Invest in NTDs.’’