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A’Ibom First Lady seeks collaboration in fight against tropical diseases



Mrs Patience Eno

Speaking during the First NTDs Stakeholders’ Summit in Uyo on Monday, Mrs Umo Eno said synergy between non-governmental organisations, academia, governments and other relevant stakeholders is a sure way to combat the prevalence of NTDs.

The summit tagged “Enhancing Domestic Resource Mobilizations Towards Sustaining the Control and Elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases in Akwa Ibom State”, was organised in Uyo, by the State Ministry of Health in collaboration with Helen Keller International.

Eno who was the guest speaker at the summit encouraged mothers to take seriously the de-worming of their children, assuring the organisers of the event of her constant support whenever the need arises.

She said, “Our collective knowledge and expertise will be vital in shaping a future where these diseases no longer pose significant threats to human life and well-being.

“Let us foster an environment of open-mindedness, empathy and knowledge sharing, recognising the importance of multidisciplinary approaches and the involvement of various stakeholders, including government, academia, NGOs, and the private sector so that significant strides can be recorded in the fight against Neglected Tropical Diseases,” she noted.

While thanking the organisers of the event for putting the summit together, the first lady expressed confidence that the meeting would prompt stakeholders to take meaningful measures to stop the spread of NTDs.

The Commissioner for Health, Prof. Augustine Umoh said the summit was designed to draw greater attention towards NTDs, noting that the diseases are hardly heard about but sadly, they are prevalent and pose serious health challenges in the State.

He said the Ministry of Health in partnership with Helen Keller International has recorded over 314 free surgeries across the three Senatorial Districts in the state in the last three years while assuring the government’s continuous commitment to the well-being of Akwa Ibom people. He however called for partnership from stakeholders from all sectors towards financing and the elimination of these NTDs in the state.

Earlier, Akwa Ibom State Coordinator, NTDs Control and Elimination Programme, Dr. Aniekeme Uwah said the essence of the Summit was to provide an opportunity for stakeholders to “take a cursory look at how solutions could be proffered to the myriads of challenges confronting the implementation of control and elimination strategies through the identification of gaps, areas of partnership and opportunities for domestic resource mobilization to help the most vulnerable population affected by NTDs, which has led to stigmatization, untold hardship and suffering.”

Uwah said the resolutions reached at the end of the Summit will aid the achievement of the goals of the economic blueprint of the state government as contained in the Arise Agenda especially poverty deduction, improved standard of living and highly educated healthy and skilled populace.

He expressed appreciation to the Governor’s Wife for honouring the invitation in person and called on stakeholders to partner with the Akwa Ibom State Ministry of Health towards meeting the global 2030 target of 90% reduction in the number of people required for treatment for neglected tropical disease and elimination.

The Head of Programmes, Helen Keller International, Mohammed Aliyu in a goodwill message said they are present in 12 states in Nigeria with huge investments in curbing NTDs in the country and also pledged his organisation’s commitment to sponsoring more surgical operations.