William Attah, Gombe
Neglected tropical diseases: Gombe NGO trains 154 PHC staff on detection, treatment of hydroceles, elephantiasis
No fewer than 154 health workers drawn from the eleven Local Government Areas of Gombe State are currently undergoing training on the detection and treatment of hydroceles (swelling of the scrotum in males) and elephantiasis.
Amen Health Care and Empowerment Foundation, who brought together 14 Primary Health Care workers from each of the eleven LGAs of the State, will also provide medication and skills to treat and manage these diseases which the World Health Organization (WHO) describes as neglected tropical diseases.
President and Founder of Amen Foundation, Rita Aizehi Aimiuwu, at the Flag off of the training said, the treatment will be run free for people found with such conditions.
The training, which will run for three days, has the eleven Local Government Areas divided into three. Each set will be trained in a day.
She said the target for the search and treatment of hydroceles are for male children between ages one to fifteen while that of the elephantiasis covers women.
She explained that before now, most of these diseases were neglected but revealed that just within the last few weeks, Amen Foundation had done surgeries for no fewer than 1,100 persons.
“So far, hydroceles surgeries we’ve done is over 1,100 going on until yesterday in Deba. It’s a continuous programme because we are going to another LGA. We have not cleared Deba yet”, she stated.
According to her, the organization had started the management of elephantiasis and surgeries for hydroceles since October last year.
“We started surgeries in October, we also started the management of elephantiasis. We started in February by training four health workers for each LGA to search and manage, and so, the four health workers go round the LGAs to find people with the conditions and we provide all that is required to manage the condition.
“In the process of doing that, we found out that a lot of children had hydroceles, what is called congenital hydroceles and we were worried because I have never thought children could have that”, she said.
She added that, ” We discussed this with the State Government, partners and we felt we needed to investigate this further and then with the support of our main funder, End Fund, we were able to get support from Pact Foundation”.
Declaring the training open, the Gombe State Commissioner of Health, Dr. Habu Dahiru, described the occasion as a great milestone in the State because the tropical diseases had been neglected in the past.
He said the Inuwa Yahaya administration in the State has upgraded the infrastructure and manpower of the health sector of the State and called on community leaders to cooperate with the trained workers in identifying people with such cases.
It is expected that by April next year, Amen Foundation would have gathered enough data covering the entire State on the cases of hydroceles and elephantiasis.