Neglected tropical diseases are a diverse group of tropical infections which are common in low-income populations in developing regions of Africa, Asia and the Americas. They have a range of effects from extreme pain, permanent disability to death. NTDs are classified into two groups which are Preventive Chemotherapy (PCT) and Innovative Disease Management (IDM). Examples include;
PCT NTDs include Lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis (river blindness), schistosomiasis (bilharziasis), soil-transmitted helminthiases (intestinal worms) and trachoma.
IDM NTDs include Buruli ulcer, yaws, leprosy and rabies, etc. One or more of the five (5) PCT NTDs are endemic in the four HANDS supported states of Kano, Jigawa, Yobe and FCT and over the years intervention has been going for the 5 PCT NTDs through Mass Drug Administration using the community and school platforms.
Onchocerciasis (Oncho) also called river blindness is a parasitic disease caused by Onchocerca volvulus. The disease is transmitted by repeated bites from infected black flies. It is common in those who live in rural areas and persons who travel to endemic areas with fast flowing rivers. The symptoms include severe itching, bumps under the skin and blindness, etc. Since 1995, HANDS commenced support to the states for the elimination of onchocerciasis using the Community Directed Treatment with Ivermectin (CDTI). In the year 2020, training was carried out for Oncho at different levels for the MDA. CDDs distributed Ivermectin tablets to members of communities from the ages of 5 and above moving from house to house.