Concerned about the prevalence of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) in Africa, Cross River State Governor, Professor Ben Ayade has called on the World Health Organization (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 addresses WHO in Geneva, seeks intervention in water, sanitation
Ayade made the call Wednesday in Geneva, Switzerland, at the opening session of the Global Partners meeting on Neglected Tropical Diseases organized by Bill and Melinda Gate in Foundation Collaboration with WHO.
Sharing some challenges of tropical diseases in the 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 circle as those that are relevant enough to receive attention. Therefore, you see situations where you ship in large quantity 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 Organization and its affiliates to partner states and local government areas more to ensure that there is reduction in tropical diseases in the West Africa countries.
He enumerated some of the groundbreaking achievement the state has recorded in the sector to include the introduction of affordable health insurance scheme, nicked name, AyadeCare that will create access to healthcare delivery across the state, adding that government has already set aside huge sum of money to ensure smooth take off of the scheme.
He added that when fully implemented, the health insurance scheme will ensure universal health coverage in the state and solicited support in that direction.
According to the WHO, “Since 2007, when a group of global partners met to agree to tackle NTDs together, a variety of local and international partners have worked alongside ministries of health in endemic countries to deliver quality-assured medicines, and provide people with care and long-term management.”