Nigeria Launches Plan to Control Neglected Tropical Diseases
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – Nigeria has launched a five-year NTD Master Plan aimed at controlling neglected tropical diseases. RTI International and other global partners will help the country to implement the plan over the next several years.
Nigeria’s plan, worth $332 million, will provide treatment for more than 60 million people annually over the next five years.
Since 2006, RTI has been the lead organization in implementing USAID’s supported neglected tropical disease work, first under the NTD Control Program and now under the ENVISION project, which provides assistance to national programs targeting lymphatic filariasis (elephantiasis), onchocerciasis (river blindness), schistosomiasis (snail fever), soil-transmitted helminths and trachoma. To date, USAID has supported countries to deliver more than half a billion preventive neglected tropical disease treatments, reaching cumulatively more than 250 million people in 20 countries.
Neglected tropical diseases cause blindness, worm infestation, severe enlargements of limbs such as legs and feet, and impair childhood growth. These preventable diseases are still prevalent and common in much of the developing world, and together they cause severe disability in the world's poorest countries, resulting in billions of dollars of lost productivity.
Nigeria has the greatest burden of neglected tropical diseases in sub-Saharan Africa, but significant progress has been made in recent years. The country is close to being certified free of guinea worm disease and a number of states have interrupted the transmission of river blindness infection.
Successful implementation of the five-year plan “will rely heavily on strong political commitments and partnership supports at all levels,” said Ali Pate, Nigerian Minister of State for Health. “An unprecedented momentum now exists among the international health community to overcome the global impact of neglected tropical diseases.”
As part of the ENVISION project, and working closely with Nigeria’s national and state-level ministries, RTI is working with the The Carter Center to support NTD control and elimination activities at the federal level and in nine states including Anambra, Abia, Edo, Delta, Imo, Enugu, and Ebonyi, Plateau and Nassarawa. For more information on RTI’s NTD work in Nigeria, go www.NTDenvision.org.