Senators expressed concern on Monday about the spread of elephantiasis, a tropical disease that is said to have killed the mother of a former Lagos State governor.
In Abuja, lawmakers led by APC Lagos Central Senator Oluremi Tinubu revealed that the deadly disease is one of Nigeria’s 14 Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs).
Lymphatic Filariasis (Elephantiasis), Soil-Transmitted Helminthiasis (STH), Onchocerciasis (River Blindness), Trachoma (Granular Conjunctivitis), and Schistosomiasis are tropical diseases, according to them (Bilharzia).
Rabbies, Leprosy, Yaws, Snakebites, Leishmaniasis, Human African Trypanosomiasis (HAT), Mycetoma, and Fascioliasis are among the other parasitic diseases.
Senator Tinubu lamented the neglected killer diseases at a High-Level Round Table Meeting organized by the Nigeria National Task Team (NNTT) to eradicate them at the Transcorp Hilton Hotels, saying that concerted efforts by both public and private organizations are required to eradicate the diseases from Nigeria.
“Though many of these diseases are not as common in Lagos State as they are in other parts of the country, Elephantiasis killed the mother of one of the state’s one-time governors.”
Read Also: Three Indians arrested For Stabbing Nigerian Man To Death for refusing to share beer with them
“A few years ago, the one-time Governor, Alexander Enenagu, who is now a Ph.D. holder in law after graduating first in his class at the Lagos Law School, revealed this to me.”
“After coming to the Senate and passing through the Committees on Health and Women’s Affairs, the prevalence of diseases, with their attendant casualties primarily among women, dawned on me, as did the need to eradicate them.
“Because most NTDs are preventable,” she said, “awareness is critical for this campaign.”
Senator Brahim Yahaya Oloriegbe (APC Kwara Central), his counterparts on the Senate Committee on Water Resources, Senator Bello Mandiya (APC Katsina South), and other stakeholders have urged the government at all levels in Nigeria to eradicate diseases that kill vulnerable Nigerians on a daily basis in rural areas.
Senator Oloriegbe, the round table dialogue’s convener, stated that NTDs are widespread in Nigeria and require immediate attention from all stakeholders.
“I’m hoping that my National Assembly colleagues will be persuaded to add the elimination of NTDs to their list of constituency projects.” This will go a long way toward alleviating the suffering of Nigerians who are afflicted by diseases in some way,” he said.
Water and sanitation are critical in preventing and eliminating diseases, according to Bello Mandiya, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Water Resources, as 72 out of 774 local government councils in Nigeria are free of open defecation, a practice that is most prevalent in Nigeria across the globe.
Senator Olorunnibe Mamora, the Minister of State for Health, stated in his submissions that Nigeria ranks first or second in the world in terms of disease prevalence, with the exception of Malaria, which is a major killer in the country.
He explained that the government alone cannot do it all and that corporate organizations must join the campaign to eradicate diseases that are primarily found in rural areas.
“Rural residents must also assist the government in eradicating killer diseases by being hygienic in terms of the water they drink and the manner in which they defecate.