Kano : Commissioner for Health Addresses Media to Mark World Leprosy Day


ProtocolsI am pleased to address you this morning on the dual Commemoration of the 2024 World Leprosy and World Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) Days. The events are celebrated on the 30th January every year. The World Leprosy Day which fell on the last Sunday of January that coincides with the anniversary date (30th January 1948) of Mahatma Ghandi’s death, the former Indian leader who championed support for leprosy patients worldwide. Meanwhile, the World NTDs Day coincides with the anniversary of the 30th January 2012 London Declaration on NTDs.

These events are set aside to further raise public awareness on Leprosy and NTDs which still cause ill health affecting the mental, physical, social, and economic well-being of people and the efforts being made to end the diseases and the associated stigma and discrimination of affected persons. Theme for 2024 World Leprosy Day is: “Beat Leprosy” Slogan for 2024 World Leprosy Day is: “Ending Stigma, Embracing Dignity”while the theme for 2024 World NTDs Day is: “Unite, Act, Eliminate”2.

The themes and slogan are in line with the resolve by the state Government under the able leadership of His Excellency The Executive Governor of Kano state Engr Abba Kabir Yusuf to Beat Leprosy and NTDs, End Stigma, Embrace Dignity and ensure a United front for Action to Eliminate both Leprosy and NTDs in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health and other stakeholders.3. You may wish to know that in 2023 globally 174,087 new leprosy cases notified in 2023 out of which 21,935 were in Africa. Nigeria notified 2,393 leprosy cases and is among 18 high Leprosy burden countries in the world. Kano notified and treated 333 leprosy patients But, no one lost his life due to Leprosy in kano! Also, WHO NTDs report showed that more than 1.65 billion people worldwide were treatment for various forms of NTDs. Nigeria is among 16 countries accounting for over 80% of global NTDs burden.

Kano has five (5) endemic NTDs, namely: Schistosomiasis, River Blindness, Trachoma, Lymphatic Filariasis and Soil Transmitted Helminthes.4. Ladies and gentlemen, you may wish to note that Leprosy is an infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae (a bacteria), with incubation period 1 to 20 years but usually within 5 years. It mainly affects the skin, peripheral nerves, respiratory tract and eyes and is transmitted via droplets (nose and mouth) during close and frequent contact with untreated cases. The major clinical signs of leprosy are: a well circumscribed, hypo pigmented (light), anesthetic, non-itchy skin patch on any part of the skin.

Meanwhile neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are a diverse group of conditions that are mainly prevalent in tropical areas, where they thrive among people living in impoverished communities. They are caused by a variety if pathogens including viruses, bacteria, parasites, fungi and toxins and are responsible for devastating health, social and economic consequences. 5. Since the coming of the present administration, the state Government has made efforts to cut the transmission and eliminate these condition as well as reduce their burden and socio-economic in addition to health promotion and rehabilitation of affected persons alongside our National Programs, WHO and other Partners. Through these interventions the State was able to achieve: –General renovation of Yadakunya Leprosarium and General Hospital by His Excellency The Executive Governor of Kano State Engr Abba Kabir Yusuf.

Remember this is one of the oldest Leprosariums in Nigeria! His Excellency visited this facility several times since the inception of this administration and we can all witness what has happened here. For example: We provided Solar Borehole that ensured uninterrupted water Supply to this hospital We also provided Electrical solar poles system for your security and surroundings. We provided you with a Hospital Ambulance to help convey patients.And for the first time we also established a dental clinic in Yadakunya hospital.

And, and as you know Eid Al Kabir (Babbar Sallah) celebration is sweetest with meat! Alhamdulillah His Excellency provided a very big Cow to our patients here during the 2023 Eid Al Kabir celebration. let us all join hands to once again appreciate His Excellency please!

Also, the state government released counterpart funds for Leprosy and NTDs.  We also distributed 40,000 eye googles/spectacles to boost the sights of our people. Through Mass administration of Medicines (MAM) a total of 4,778,838 have been treated for four of the 5 endemic NTDs, namely Onchocerciasis, Lymphatic Filariasis, Soil-transmitted helminthiasis and Trachoma.Gentlemen and ladies, recent survey data in the state showed that schistosomiasis (tsargiya) is endemic in our 466 out of the 484 wards and If not treated on time this disease may lead to bladder cancer, mental retardation and impaired child growth, etc. So, to prevent this disease the state in collaboration with the FMoH and our partners (especially WHO, HANDS & CHAI) has concluded all preparations for Mass Administration of Medicines (MAM) campaign against schistosomiasis and Soil-transmitted helminthiasis targeting our children 5 – 14 years in schools and communities.

To this end, His Excellency has graciously approved a sum of three hundred- and seventy-five-million-naira (375) to ensure adequate feeding of our children and other preparations for the campaign. Also, in collaboration with FMoH and HANDS we procured 2,700,000 tablets of Praziquantel (PZQ) worth over two (2) billion naira and Insha Allah we will provide treatment to a total of 1,868,448 children against schistosomiasis (tsargiya) in Kano State!6. these laudable achievements and efforts are for us all.

Therefore, we call on all kano citizens, young and old, male and female to go to the nearest Health Facility for early diagnosis and Prompt treatment of Leprosy and NTDs free of charge.Gentlemen of the press:   7. I wish to inform you that the successes mentioned are due to the exemplary leadership and political will of His Excellency the Executive Governor of Kano State, Engr Abba Kabir Yusuf, who prioritized health and wellbeing of especially our women and children through provision of essential health services at all levels. The state remains committed to providing free health services such as free MNCH, A&E and Eye care services, Support to SCD and diabetes patients, Free Malaria treatment, free HIV/AIDS, TB, LEPROSY and NTDs SERVICES!8. In view of these laudable initiatives, I wish to thank His Excellency most sincerely, The Executive Governor of Kano State, Engr Abba Kabir Yusuf for his immense support to the health sector. I also wish to thank our Royal Highnesses, other traditional, religious and influential people, Council of Ulamas, HISBAH Board and Christians Association of Nigeria (CAN) for your support.    9. Ladies and gentlemen, we are fully aware of the contribution of developmental partners such as WHO, LTR, KNCV LON 1 & 2, HANDS, TB-Network, BA-N, CHAI, IHVN, SFH, NCDC, UNICEF, Dangote Foundation, BMGF, AMKAAS, Cigari foundation, among other organisations too numerous to mention, in areas healthcare, social and economic development of our dear state. We are indeed grateful. 10. Lastly, I wish to also appreciate the effort being made by all the media houses that have been one our strongest partners towards improving the health status of the citizents of Kano State.God bless Kano State! God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria!! Thank you, Wassalamu Alaikum.

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