Tuesday, November 13, 2018
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Governor Intensifies Fight Against Neglected Tropical Diseases 

By Antoinette Bambot & Blaise Whumo*

An advocacy meeting on neglected tropical diseases recently took place at the conference hall of the Northwest Special Fund for Health, Bamenda, grouping all stakeholders.

The advocacy meeting organized by the Northwest Regional Delegate for Health Dr. Victor Ndiforchu in collaboration with Sightsavers (Partners) had as objective to erect awareness in all stakeholders against river blindness and the distribution of drugs like Mectizan and Mebendazor.

Governor Abakar Ahamat in his opening speech stated that neglected diseases like onchocerciasis and intestinal worms amongst others vary from region to region. 
He remarked that the government of Cameroon has instituted a massive campaign to distribute drugs that will help fight the disease.  

He also urged stakeholders to play a major role in the successful distribution of the drugs.
In a talk presented by the Regional Coordinator for the Neglected Tropical Diseases NTD, Dr. Kingsley Che Soh told participants that there are 13 neglected tropical diseases but just three are onchocerciasis, or river blindness, lymphatic fileriasis or elephantiasis and Intestinal worms. To this effect, Mectizan and Mebendazole are distributed free of charge in communities to help fight these diseases. 

Mectizan is given to people above five years for at least 15 years in order for adult worms to get out of the body.  Pregnant women and very sick people are exempted from taking these drugs.
Talking about side effects, Dr. Che stressed that individuals who feel abnormal after taking the drugs, should report to the nearest health centre as soon as possible for free treatment.
 
On his part, the Northwest Regional Delegate for Health, Dr. Victor Ndiforchu    called on the different stakeholders; WHO, Sightsavers, NTD, The Ministry of Health, religious and traditional authorities and community distributors to play active role in the effective sensitization, mobilization and supervision of distribution of mectizan and mebendazole and its consumption by inhabitants in every community.
 
In a question and answer session which concluded the meeting, Dr. Ndiforchu said since the start of the distribution of these drugs in 2004, only one severe side effect case has been witnessed which was in Sabongari, in Donga Mantung Division.  Most of the cases in the region are very mild cases of tiredness, headache, muscular pain and itches.
 
A press conference succeeded the meeting in which the Northwest Regional Delegate for Health Dr. Victor Ndiforchu and the Regional Coordinator of the control programme for tropical diseases Dr. Kingsley Che Soh urged pressmen and women present to play an active role in the sensitization of the population in their different media organs.  He encouraged journalists and appreciated their efforts so far.  

He called on them to tell the masses not to be afraid of sight effects and take the drugs for their good and the society at large. Journalists were requested to lay emphasis on the use of measuring sticks which community distributors carry around in order to know the height and dosage for each person.
 
*(National Polytechnic Bambui & UB Journalism Students on internship)
 

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