The Department of Neglected Tropical Diseases, Ministry of Health in Kwara has commenced mass deworming of primary school children across the 16 local government areas of the state.
In her address at the flag-off of the exercise on Thursday at the Queen Elizabeth Secondary School, Ilorin, the Governor’s wife, Dr. Olufolake Abdulrazaq, stated that worm infestations are prevalent in the tropics and subtropical areas.
She said that the type more prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa, the Americas, China, and East Asia was schistosomiasis, a leading member of the dreadful worm, and also classified among the group of diseases referred to as Neglected Tropical Diseases.
The governor’s wife, who was represented by Dr. Raji Razaq, the Kwara Commissioner for Health, described Schistosomiasis as an acute chronic disease caused by parasites.
According to her, symptoms of the disease that may develop include fever, chills, cough, muscle aches, abdominal pain, enlarged liver, blood in the stool or blood in the urine, and difficulty passing urine among others.
Abdulrazaq explained further that the disease could lead to a weak body system with impaired defense mechanisms thereby leading to sickness and different kinds of complications including death.
She assured that the state government would continue to prioritise the health of the citizenry and strive to tackle NTDs with the same vigour used to handle COVID-19 and combat malaria.
The governor’s wife commended partners and stakeholder agencies including Sightsavers and Global Fund for their commitment to the good health of citizens of the state.
Also, Mrs. Christiana Bamgboye, the NTDs Kwara State Coordinator, stated that the exercise would entail the distribution of deworming drugs to primary school children across the state.
Bamgboye observed that NTDs are endemic in the state especially across 11 local government areas, adding that Bilharzia was one of the diseases endemic in the state causing urination of blood.
She listed other NTDs as Soil Helminthes, Filariasis, Lymphatic Filariasis, and Schistosomiasis among others.
The NTDs state coordinator added that the government has also included the School Feeding initiatives to ensure children are fed nutritious food alongside the medication.
Bamgboye said that the programme was in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, and other stakeholders.