MITOSATH, FMoH, LSMoH Commence Mass Administration Of Medicines For Schistosomiasis Elimination In Lagos

Dr Francisca Olamiju, Executive Director, Mission To Save The Helpless (MITOSATH)

MITOSATH (Mission To Save The Helpless) in pursuance of her objective to control and eliminate Neglected Tropical Diseases in the states she is supporting, has concluded plans to commence Mass Administration of Medicines (MAM) in Lagos State.

In 2014 the MITOSATH in her drive to control and eliminate NTDs in Lagos State, embarked on a mapping exercise that took place across the state, supported by Children Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) & Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH). As a result of this mapping programme Seven Local Government Areas (LGAs), were found to be endemic for Schistosomiasis and needed intervention.

Schistosomiasis is a severe Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD) caused by parasitic worms.

Consequently, in 2019 MITOSATH in partnership with the Lagos State Ministry of Health, ASCEND/Sightsavers and WHO carried out Mass Administration of Medicines (MAM) with Praziquantel in the identified seven LGAs.

The Executive Director of MITOSATH, Dr Francisca Olamiju, disclosed at the MAM micro planning meeting with partners and stakeholders, hosted at the Ostra Hall in Alausa, Ikeja, “this intervention is the first ward level schistosomiasis MAM in Nigeria and in an urban setting. This novel MAM earned the LSMOH NTD Unit an outstanding award by the FMoH”.

Schistosomiasis Intervention at a Primary school Lagos-Mainland in 2014

Adding that “in line with the new World Health Organisation (WHO) guideline for schistosomiasis intervention which focuses on ward level approach, Lagos state schistosomiasis endemicity has been reclassified, and 139 wards in 13 LGAs now requires intervention. These LGAs include, Agege, Ajeromi/Ifelodun, Alimosho, Amuwo-Odofin, Eti-Osa, Kosofe, Ibeju-Lekki, Ifako-Ijaiye, Ikeja, Ikorodu, Lagos Mainland, Oshodi-Isolo and Surulere”.

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Dr Francisca Olamiju further stated that the mass administration of medicine intervention is for school-aged children between ages five and 14 years. That the administered Medicine, Praziquantel is for the prevention and control of Schisto.

“The target is to reach 398,933 school-age children(5-14years) with Praziquantel tablets in the endemic LGAs for the treatment and prevention of schistosomiasis; Alimosho, Ikeja, Kosofe, Ikorodu, Surulere, Ifako-Ijaiye, Eti-Osa and Oshodi-Isolo LGAs”.

According to MITOSATH, the first indigenous NGO involved in the control and elimination of NTDs in Nigeria, the first phase of the MAM exercise will be carried out in nine of the endemic LGAs which include; Kosofe, Eti-Osa, Oshodi-Isolo, Ikorodu, Alimosho, Ikeja, Agege, Ifako-Ijaiye and Surulere. The first phase will start from the 29th of June to the 8th of July, 2022.

The second phase of the intervention is to commence immediately after at the other LGAs namely; Ajeromi-Ifelodun, Amuwo-Odofin, Ibeju-Lekki and Lagos-Mainland. These LGAs have been noted to be co-endemic with STH(Soil-Transmitted Helminths).

On his part the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Health, Dr Olusegun Ogboye, said “the mass administration of medicine for schistosomiasis control is part of the broader goal for the control and elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases in Lagos State”.

CDDs enlightening residents of Jakande estate, Oke-Afa about NTDs during the 2019 Schistosomiasis intervention in Oshodi-Isolo LGA, Lagos

Opining that the 2019 MAM collaboration with MITOSATH and WHO in seven LGAs was successful and has served as template for subsequent interventions. That the aim of this is to reduce the level of schistosomiasis endemicity, “so we can actively control and eliminate Shisto in our State”, he explained.

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Dr Francisca Olamiju, however, used the occasion to appeal for the cooperation and support of members of the communities where the MAM exercise is taking place.

“We want the public to be aware that the medicine, Praziquantel, is safe. Our plea is that parents, guardians and caregivers should ensure that their children are well fed before taking Praziquantel.

We need to eliminate Schistosomiasis because it is a neglected and hidden disease”, she concluded.

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