An Agro processing industry, Olam Food Ingredient (Ofi) has supported the Neglected Tropical Disease (NTDs) Department of the Kwara Ministry of Health in the reduction of NTDs burden in Kwara.
Mrs Christiana Bamigboye, the State Coordinator of NTDs, who spoke with newsmen in Ilorin, on the sidelines of the programme explained that the state government partnered Ofi to organise stakeholders meeting for community members.
She emphasised on the need for partnership with companies and organisations, to work together and engage on the target towards elimination of the disease in Kwara.
“The World Health Organisation (WHO) targets elimination of NTDs to 2030. We want to make sure that the state is free of the disease before the year runs out partnership with relevant stakeholders is therefore important in reaching this goal,” she said.
Bamigboye explained that more than 1 billion people around the world are affected by NTDs, and that the larger part are sub-Saharan African countries such as Nigeria.
“It is therefore important that all hands must be on deck towards elimination of NTDs.
“Government alone cannot do it, we must ensure that every child is treated with the required and appropriate drugs towards eradication of the disease in the state, ” she said.
According to her, stakeholders includes local government coordinators, education secretaries, teachers, headmasters and community representatives, among others.
She therefore enjoined teachers to organise Parent Teachers Association (PTA) meetings, so as to sensitise parents on how to ensure children are prevented form the disease.
Bamigboye advised that children should be fed well balanced diet food with lots of vegetables and fruits, adding that the country is blessed with abundant fruits.
She pointed out that communities will be mobilsed on personal hygiene, while advising against unhealthy practices such as defecating in rivers.
Also speaking, Alhaji Ajibade Idris, the Factory Manager of Ofi Cashew Industries, submitted that the Agro company has been on the forefront of health intervention with various support programmes for years.
He stated that NTDs are a dangerous disease that can lead to deformity and affect quality of life of people.
According to him, the Agro industries is not relegated to health intervention alone, and that there have been series of community intervention including constructions of classrooms, provisions of ICT materials for schools in Ladugba community in Kwara and sinking of boreholes to supply water for communities.
Also speaking, Mr Babalola Kayode, the Field Coordinator for Sustainability, Ofi Industries, explained further that the industry in collaboration with the ministry of health will reach out to communities including Ikotun, Okonle and Abuto-Oja among others to treat them against NTDs.
“This is part of our Corporate Social Responsibility in giving out to the communities to ensure we assist the state government in its efforts in fighting the disease,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that some of the NTDs endemic in Nigeria includes Schistosomiasis, Elephantiasis, Chagas Disease, Cysticercosis, Dengue Fever, Guinea Worm Disease and Echinococcosis among others.