The World Health Organization (WHO) has called for increased sensitization to debunk wrong beliefs about Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD).
Neglected Tropical Diseases include trachoma, guinea worm, schistosomiasis, Lymphatic filariasis, Soil Transmitted Helminthiasis (STH) and Onchocerciasis, among others.
Nigeria accounted for nearly 50% of the global burden of NTDs with over half of the population at risk of at least one of the diseases as at December 2017.
WHO Country Representative, Wondimagegnehu Alemu, in a statement yesterday, said there still existed traditional myths attributing NTDs to witchcraft or punishment from God, adding that uptake of the freely provided medicines was suboptimal in some areas.
“As such, they do not seek medical assistance and continue to suffer severe disfigurement and disabilities, this impacts negatively on life expectancy, education and economic opportunities of affected individuals and the communities they live in,” Alemu said.
Extreme poverty: Nigeria overtakes India
Nigeria has overtaken India as the country with the largest number of people living in extreme poverty, with an estimated 87 million Nigerians or around half of the country’s population, thought to be living on less than $1.90 a day.
The findings, based on a projection by the World Poverty Clock and compiled by Brookings Institute, show that more than 643 million people across the world live in extreme poverty, with Africans accounting for about two-thirds of the total number.
In Nigeria, as with other countries on the continent, that figure is projected to rise, it said.
“By the end of 2018 in Africa as a whole, there will probably be about 3.2 million more people living in extreme poverty than there are today,” the researchers write.
A recent rise in oil prices has helped to spur the country’s economic recovery.
The researchers note that 14 out of 18 countries where poverty is rising are in Africa, adding that if current rates persist, 90% of the world’s poorest will be living on the continent by 2030. (CNN)