Concerned about the prevalence of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) in Africa, Cross River State Governor, Prof. Ben Ayade, yesterday called on the World Health Organisation (WHO) to take its intervention in Africa, especially Nigeria, beyond the mere distribution of drugs and focus more on water hygiene and environmental sanitation.
Ayade made the call in Geneva, Switzerland, at the opening session of the Global Partners meeting on Neglected Tropical Diseases organised by Bill and Melinda Gate Foundation collaboration with the WHO.
Sharing some challenges of tropical diseases in central and northern part of the state due to its location, Ayade urged the international partners to scale up their campaign efforts if the disease must be eradicated in sub-Saharan Africa.
According to Ayade, “Today as we speak, the predisposing factors have not changed. Africa is still in those same situations typified by lack of water, lack of hygiene and lack of good sanitary conditions.”
Lamenting lack of political will necessary to drive most of the donors’ programmes in Africa, the governor explained that; “the affected population that depend on these drugs are actually not seen in political circles as those that are relevant enough to receive attention.
Therefore, you see situations where you ship in large quantities of drugs, costing millions of dollars, but the political structure that requires the will to cascade the drugs down to those that need them more is not there.”
He urged the World Health Organisation and its affiliates to partner states and local government areas more to ensure that there was reduction in tropical diseases in the West Africa countries.