…Targets Over 300,000 School Aged Children

Lagos State Government today announced commencement of Mass Administration of Medicines (MAM) for school-aged children against Schistosomiasis; an acute and chronic Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD) caused by parasitic worms, in nine local government areas of the State where the disease is endemic.

Permanent Secretary, Ministry Of Health, Dr. Olusegun Ogboye who made the announcement at the MAM micro planning meeting with implementing stakeholders and partners held at the Ostra Hall in Alausa-Ikeja, noted that the mass administration of medicines will be implemented in nine schistosomiasis endemic LGAs including Kosofe, Eti-Osa, Oshodi-Isolo, Ikorodu, Alimosho, Ikeja, Agege, Ifako-Ijaiye and Surulere.

He stated that the MAM would be implemented in two phases explaining that the first phase implementation will run from 29th of June to 8th of July, 2022 in the aforementioned LGAs while the second phase of implementation will commence immediately at four other LGAs; Ajeromi-Ifelodun, Amuwo-Odofin, Ibeju-Lekki and Lagos Mainland where the disease is co-endemic with Soil Transmitted Helminths.

Ogboye disclosed that the mass administration of medicines for schistosomiasis control and elimination is part of the broader goal for the control and elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases in Lagos State.

In his words: “The Lagos State Government is collaborating with the Federal Ministry of Health and a non-governmental organization; Mission to Save The Helpless (MITOSATH) to implement the administration of medicines for school aged children. In 2019, the State Government in collaboration with MITOSATH and WHO carried out a successful mass administration of medicines for school aged children in seven endemic LGAs. The successful intervention later serve as template for other States to follow”

The Permanent Secretary explained that the process will involve administration of oral medicine; Praziquantel to school-aged children to achieve a timely intervention for the prevention and control of the disease in order to reduce the level of endemicity in affected communities.

“What we are trying to do is to give medicine to reduce the level of endemicity of Schistosomiasis so that we can actively control and eliminate the disease in our State”, he said.

While restating the commitment of the State Government to the elimination of the Neglected Tropical Diseases, the Permanent Secretary stated that over 300,000 school-aged children are the target population for the mass administration of Medicine for the control and elimination of Schistosomiasis.

He assured residents that the medicines approved and provided for the exercise are safe and effective stressing the need for citizens particularly parents and guardians in the affected LGAs to take advantage of the opportunity offered by the intervention for their children and wards

Executive Director, MITOSATH, Dr. Fransisca Olamiju in her remarks stated that the collaboration of MITOSATH, Federal Ministry of Health and the Lagos State Ministry of Health is in pursuance of its objective to control and eliminate the NTD in Lagos adding that the intervention takes off with immediate effect.

She explained further that the mass administration of medicine is for children between ages of five and 14 years adding that Praziquantel tablets would be administered to the school-aged children for the prevention and control of the disease.

“This intervention is the first ward level schistosomiasis MAM in Nigeria and in an urban setting. This novel MAM which has earned the Lagos State Ministry of Health an outstanding award by the Federal Ministry of Health is in line with the new World Health Organization’s guideline for schistosomiasis intervention which focuses on ward level approach.

“The target is to reach 398,933 school-age children (5-14years) with Praziquantel tablets for the treatment and prevention of schistosomiasis in the endemic local government areas. We want the public to be aware that the drug is Praziquantel safe and our plea is that parents, guardians, 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 said.

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