Ogun trains officials on schistosomiasis control

The Ogun State government has purchased a large quantity of drugs to fight schistosomiasis – a water borne disease caused by worms – which is prevalent in parts of the state, the state commissioner for health, Abiodun Oduwole has said.

Mrs. Oduwole said this on Tuesday, during a meeting with schistosomiasis control coordinators from the 20 local government areas of the state.

The meeting was held two weeks after NEXT published a report on the impact of the disease on Ijoun, a rural community in the state. The health commissioner told participants at the emergency meeting cum training for the coordinators, that the state government has allocated some (undisclosed) funds for the exercise.

To battle the source of the disease, Mrs. Oduwole said that copper sulphate will also be used to treat the water bodies in all the affected communities, to kill the snails in the rivers.

The snails serve as vectors for the parasite causing the outbreak. All the state’s schistosomiasis control coordinators present at the meeting were trained on the correct dosage of praziquantel tablets to be administered on the victims and the use of copper sulphate.

The government also promised to sink more boreholes in the affected region. Mrs. Oduwole also said that the state government was ready to provide modern toilet facilities in the villages to stop people from defecating in streams, which they drink from, as the parasites also reside in eggs in the water.

Neglected disease

Kafil Emiola, the state’s schistosomiasis control coordinator, said that the state had previously established a programme to combat the infection before “it went moribound.”

Oyin Sodipe, the director of public healthcare and disease control with the state’s ministry of health, said the ministry had asked 20 local governments to send their schistosomiasis program coordinators to attend the training. “Even the local government areas that are not endemic with schistosomiasis are invited,” she said.

“We want to ask if there are cases and actively search for these cases, so we can update the prevalence data of the disease in the state.” Mrs. Sodipe said that the ministry had to comb the nooks and crannies of Lagos to get the drugs.

“Schistosomiasis is a neglected disease and agencies do not fund the control of this disease, unlike polio and the onus lies with officers to convince the local government chairmen to be forthright in the allocation of the drugs,” she said.

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