The Federal Government through the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, in collaboration with Medecins Sans Frontieres and 31 other member states, has proposed Noma’s inclusion as a Neglected Tropical Disease in the World Health Organisation’s official disease listing.
The proposal was presented by the Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof Ali Pate, during the inauguration of NOMA Centre on Wednesday at the National Hospital in Abuja.
Noma is a necrotising disease that destroys the mouth and the face which usually starts as a lesion (a sore) of the gums, inside the mouth.
The minister, speaking at an event to mark annual awareness day noted that the initiative supported by numerous nations, aims to secure global recognition for the battle against Noma.
The Director-General of the National Orientation Agency, Lanre Issa-Onilu, solicited support from Nigerians on the enlightenment advocacy to address the risk factors of Noma disease.
Issa-Onilu, who was presented by the Director, Public Enlightenment and Mass Mobilization, Mrs.Theresa Maduekwe, said: “Noma disease is a disease that destroys the face, soft tissues of the mouth, and the face actually affects mostly the children that manure.
“Also it is also a problem of hygiene as long as we don’t clean the mouth in the morning after eating all sorts of things, including taking soda we drink and food we eat.”
In her remarks, the WHO Country Representative to Nigeria, Dr. Walter Kazadi, commended Nigeria’s unwavering commitment to combating Noma.
She acknowledged the minister’s leadership and Nigeria’s plea to include Noma in the Neglected Tropical Diseases list.
Kazadi, who was presented by Dr Mary Dewan, said, “Noma affects the poor and the most vulnerable, and this most affected population delay in presentation and when they present to the health facilities, cannot afford treatment. A huge number then presents with stage 3 or 4 diseases requiring resuscitation, several surgeries, and rehabilitation.”