The Noma Aid Nigeria Initiative (NANI), with support from German Hilfsaktion Noma eV, has unveiled an 80-bed treatment centre for the life-threatening disease, noma, in Abuja.
In a statement, the National Coordinator of NANI, Dr Charles Ononiwu, said the initiative had been working with the Federal Ministry of Health to construct the centre within the grounds of the National Hospital, noting that services would be provided to patients free of charge.
The centre, known as the Noma Centre, Abuja, would be opened on November 22, the World Noma Day, which is commemorated each year to raise awareness about the disease.
Dr Ononiwu, who also heads the centre, said, “The dignity of every child matters to us. So, we expect to create an environment where children will not only be treated through highly skilled reconstructive surgeries, but also where they can have a loving and caring environment in which every member of staff will be involved in their recovery and rehabilitation journey.”
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Prof Muhammad Raji Mahmud, the Chief Medical Director (CMD) of the National Hospital, said, “The Noma Centre is a good initiative that should be supported by all. That was why the National Hospital and the Federal Ministry of Health provided land, because it will be a very big relief by the time this is done for all those suffering from noma.”
Meanwhile, The federal government has committed to eliminate noma from the country by 2030.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), noma is fatal in about 90 percent of cases if not detected early, and that the progression could be limited through access to a nutritious diet and basic sanitation and hygiene.
Noma remains a burden in low and middle-income countries, especially those along the “noma belt”, including Nigeria.