West Africa expo holds in Lagos, to tackle neglected tropical diseases burden

Angela Onwuzoo

Healthcare professionals, drug manufacturers, scientists, pharmaceutical experts, and other stakeholders in the health sector are set to attend the West African Healthcare Expo 2023, meant to tackle topical issues associated with Neglected Tropical Diseases within the West African sub-region.

The stakeholders said tackling the menace of such diseases has become crucial because they are still “neglected “and almost absent from the global health agenda.

The healthcare professionals also expressed concerns that the diseases are associated with stigma and social exclusion.

Themed, “Neglected Tropical Diseases and the Consequential Health Burden on the Citizens’, the event is being put together by Cincinatus Hopewell Limited, an international consulting firm, to raise public awareness on NTDs and to chart a way forward for the region.

In a statement by the spokesperson of the organisers, Mr. Momoh Afegbua, the event, which will take place in Lagos in August, will bring together major stakeholders in the industry, which will showcase their brands and proffer solutions towards ending the mortality and morbidity of NTDs.

According to the World Health Organisation, the West Africa sub-region suffers significant consequences of NTDs such as malaria, cholera, yellow fever, guinea worm, sleeping sickness, river blindness, Chagas disease, Dengue fever, lymphatic filariasis, leprosy, and onchocerciasis among others.

The former Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, had during the 2023 World Neglected Tropical Disease Day in Abuja said Nigeria has about 25 per cent of all NTDs, in Africa.

“Nigeria has about 25 per cent of all NTDs in Africa, with millions of persons at risk of Lymphatic Filariasis-122 million, Onchocerciasis- 33 million, Schistosomiasis- 20.8 million, Soil-Transmitted Helminths- 29.4 million, Trachoma- 5.3 million and Human African Trypanosomiasis – 6.5 million people respectively.

“The country is particularly interested in NTDs because they are a group of communicable and non-communicable diseases occurring mostly in isolated areas of developing countries with poor sanitation and nutritional status, unsafe water supply, substandard living conditions and low level of education.

”Most NTDs are of public health importance, as they impact negatively on socio-economic development and affect an estimated one billion people worldwide, mostly Tropical areas of low-income in Africa, Asia and Latin America”, Dr. Ehanire said

The Expo meant to kick off with an exhibition will climax with a dinner award ceremony and excursion.

It will also provide opportunities for partnerships with banks and the media.

Healthcare expo is increasingly adopted to address public health issues. In Nigeria, it serves as a tool to achieve the Right to Health guaranteed by the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights as well as the Constitution of the Federal Republic (as amended).


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