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FEDERAL MINISTRY OF HEALTH ANNOUNCES NIGERIA’S LEADERSHIP TO REQUEST NOMA TO BE INCLUDED IN THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION’S LIST OF NEGLECTED TROPICAL DISEASES

Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) are characterized by the fact that they cause massive suffering and significant mortality among the poorest people but often don’t get any interest from policy makers, pharmaceutical industries, and donors. There is lack of resources to address them and appropriate tools to effectively diagnose and treat these diseases are sometimes lacking.

The Honourable Minister of Health has announced during the global stakeholders meeting on noma organized by the World Health Organization (WHO), held on 6th May 2022, that Nigeria will be taking the lead in requesting for noma to be included in the WHO’s Neglected Tropical Disease List. 

He said that a document (dossier) of the evidence that supports the adoption of noma as a neglected tropical disease (NTD) by the World Health Organization (WHO) has been developed. This dossier is put forward by Nigeria as the lead sponsor and is currently lobbying for more member states to co-sponsor. This compilation of evidence unequivocally demonstrates that noma meets the criteria of a Neglected Topical Disease. 

Noma is an issue in settings worldwide where extreme poverty is rife. The severe, life-changing, physical and mental disability caused by noma can be avoided by employing a global effort to include noma in the current WHO led efforts to eliminate NTDs. These include early case detection and NTD road map compatible cross-cutting health systems strengthening initiatives. This inclusion will also provide pathways to remedy the neglect of noma in the global health community, specifically in the research sphere. Noma should be an indicator for urgent action in terms of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and ensuring the Right to Health.

He has therefore written letters to many countries requesting to sign letters of support so that the movement of Noma to NTD can scale through when it is mentioned at the 2023 World Health Assembly. It is a global call for all and sundry to support this initiative to move noma to NTD for more visibility and eventual eradication from our world.

In Nigeria, Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) has been supporting the Noma Children’s Hospital of Sokoto in collaboration with the State Ministry of Health since 2014. People who suffer from this neglected disease are provided with free medical care, including surgery, as well as with diagnostic, nutritional and mental health support and physiotherapy. Noma (also known as cancrum oris) is a rapidly progressive, often gangrenous, infection of the mouth and face. This eventually results in up to 90% of people affected by noma dying in a few weeks and the rare survivors being affected by severe facial disfigurements, leading to functional issues, pain, discomfort and stigmatization.

On 10th May 2022, the Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire laid the groundwork for the construction of the 100 capacity Noma treatment centre in the premises of the National Hospital, Abuja. He said the decision to site the treatment centre at National Hospital was because of its strategic location, and the ease of access to Nigerian Noma patients referred from any part of the country. 

This will be the second noma treatment centre in Nigeria supported by Hilfaskion Noma ev, Ute Winkler Stunpf, in her remarks, appreciated the support received from the officials of the National Hospital and Federal Ministry of Health, that resulted in the successful take off of the project.

She confirmed that her organization has taken the responsibilities of building and equipping of the treatment facilities as well as offering the treatment and support services to Noma patients.

The addition of noma to the World Health Organization (WHO) list of NTDs would put a spotlight on the disease and facilitate the integration of noma prevention and treatment activities into existing public health programmes. Raising awareness by recognizing noma as an NTD is critical to make change happen and leave no one behind. 

Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) are characterized by the fact that they cause massive suffering and significant mortality among the poorest people but often don’t get any interest from policy makers, pharmaceutical industries, and donors. There is lack of resources to address them and appropriate tools to effectively diagnose and treat these diseases are sometimes lacking.

The Honourable Minister of Health has announced during the global stakeholders meeting on noma organized by the World Health Organization (WHO), held on 6th May 2022, that Nigeria will be taking the lead in requesting for noma to be included in the WHO’s Neglected Tropical Disease List. 

He said that a document (dossier) of the evidence that supports the adoption of noma as a neglected tropical disease (NTD) by the World Health Organization (WHO) has been developed. This dossier is put forward by Nigeria as the lead sponsor and is currently lobbying for more member states to co-sponsor. This compilation of evidence unequivocally demonstrates that noma meets the criteria of a Neglected Topical Disease. 

Noma is an issue in settings worldwide where extreme poverty is rife. The severe, life-changing, physical and mental disability caused by noma can be avoided by employing a global effort to include noma in the current WHO led efforts to eliminate NTDs. These include early case detection and NTD road map compatible cross-cutting health systems strengthening initiatives. This inclusion will also provide pathways to remedy the neglect of noma in the global health community, specifically in the research sphere. Noma should be an indicator for urgent action in terms of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and ensuring the Right to Health.

He has therefore written letters to many countries requesting to sign letters of support so that the movement of Noma to NTD can scale through when it is mentioned at the 2023 World Health Assembly. It is a global call for all and sundry to support this initiative to move noma to NTD for more visibility and eventual eradication from our world.

In Nigeria, Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) has been supporting the Noma Children’s Hospital of Sokoto in collaboration with the State Ministry of Health since 2014. People who suffer from this neglected disease are provided with free medical care, including surgery, as well as with diagnostic, nutritional and mental health support and physiotherapy. Noma (also known as cancrum oris) is a rapidly progressive, often gangrenous, infection of the mouth and face. This eventually results in up to 90% of people affected by noma dying in a few weeks and the rare survivors being affected by severe facial disfigurements, leading to functional issues, pain, discomfort and stigmatization.

On 10th May 2022, the Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire laid the groundwork for the construction of the 100 capacity Noma treatment centre in the premises of the National Hospital, Abuja. He said the decision to site the treatment centre at National Hospital was because of its strategic location, and the ease of access to Nigerian Noma patients referred from any part of the country. 

This will be the second noma treatment centre in Nigeria supported by Hilfaskion Noma ev, Ute Winkler Stunpf, in her remarks, appreciated the support received from the officials of the National Hospital and Federal Ministry of Health, that resulted in the successful take off of the project.

She confirmed that her organization has taken the responsibilities of building and equipping of the treatment facilities as well as offering the treatment and support services to Noma patients.

The addition of noma to the World Health Organization (WHO) list of NTDs would put a spotlight on the disease and facilitate the integration of noma prevention and treatment activities into existing public health programmes. Raising awareness by recognizing noma as an NTD is critical to make change happen and leave no one behind.