The Ondo State Primary Healthcare Development Agency on Wednesday solicited
the collaboration of the state’s Ministry of Education, Science and Technology in combating Neglected Tropical Diseases
(NTDs) in primary schools.
NTDs are a diverse group of tropical infections which are common in low-income populations in developing regions of Africa, Asia and the Americas.
They are caused by a variety of pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, protozoa and helminths. The diseases include Dangue fever, leprosy, river blindness and African sleeping sickness.
Dr Yetunde Olagbuji, the Director, Planning Research and Statistics of the agency, who led a team of medical officers of the agency to the ministry, said
some drugs would be administered to pupils between ages 5 and 14 years to prevent the diseases.
She said that the visit became necessary because the targeted persons were under the purview of the ministry, hence the need to create awareness
and solicit support so that the exercise would be successful.
She explained that some NTDs are; onchocerciasis, schistosomiasis and elephantiasis, noting that “the drugs to be administered are
safe, thus there will be no need for any apprehension.”
The director, who said that health workers would also embark on deworming exercise in schools across the state, urged parents and teachers
to make their children and wards available for the exercise.
Olagbuji disclosed that the first phase of the exercise would commence on Nov. 11 and would cover nine local government areas of the state,
while the date for the second phase would be announced later.
Mr Emmanuel Aba, the Coordinator of Mission to Save the Helpless, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), said the group
was collaborating with the agency to stamp out some diseases in the society, especially among school children.
According to him, the NGO provides funds, logistics, support and organises capacity building to enhance the services of health personnel
in the NTDs scheme.
He explained that the NGO was also partnering with the government in the school feeding programme to ensure quality food and healthy living for pupils.
Responding, Mr Femi Agagu, the Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, thanked the two groups for the partnership,
which was aimed at ensuring healthy living.
Agagu advised parents, teachers and pupils to cooperate with health officials while the exercise lasted.
Edited by Modupe Adeloye/Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu