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.
Schistosomiasis and Soil-Transmitted Helminths
Schistosomiasis (SCH) also known as Bilharziasis is a disease caused by parasitic worms. The parasites that cause schistosomiasis live in freshwater snails are responsible for the transmission of the disease. Presence of water bodies (streams, rivers and ponds, etc.) which harbour the freshwater snails support the transmission of the disease. The prevalence and intensity of schistosomiasis are highest among school-age children, adolescents and young adults, and any other person who has frequent contact with contaminated water..
In 2020, HANDS supported the states in the prevention and control of SCH through health education and the mass administration of praziquantel to populations in endemic communities. The strategy includes both community and school-based deworming exercises. Teachers and CDDs are trained to administer the medicine. The MDA was conducted in 66LGAs across the supported states.