The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, has restated Federal Government’s commitment to eliminating trachoma, a public health challenge, and improve access to universal eye health strategy in Nigeria.
Adewole made the commitment in a statement signed by Mrs Boade Akinola, the Director of Media and Public Relations of the ministry in Abuja on Tuesday.
The minister spoke at the closing ceremony of the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust (THE TRUST) in Abuja.
Trachoma is a disease of the eye caused by infection with the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis.
It is the leading preventable cause of blindness worldwide and is primarily a disease of extremely poor populations.
Adewole, represented by Dr. Emmanuel Meribole, Director, Department of Health Research, Planning and Statistics in the ministry, said government planned to achieve the goal through strategic partnership and collaboration with the private sector.
He added that the federal government was committed to maintaining the momentum and ensuring that the country did not slip backwards.
The minister further said that government had resolved to eliminate trachoma as a public health problem by providing clean and safe water across the country.
He said that water, sanitation and hygiene were key components of the intervention in eliminating trachoma in Nigeria.
The minister said THE TRUST was an initiative geared towards the elimination of the trachoma in Nigeria in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health.
He said that the collaboration between the ministry and THE TRUST started in March 2014, and had supported surgical interventions and mass administration of medicines in Katsina, Bauchi, Kaduna, Sokoto and Yobe States.
According to him, the collaboration has drastically reduced the number of Nigerians who are at risk of developing trachoma from 22 million to 13 million.
The Chief Executive Officer of THE TRUST, Dr. Astrid Bonfield, commended the ministry and other key stakeholders for their support.
Bonfield said the main focus of the initiative was to channel resources towards supporting Commonwealth governments to eliminate trachoma and the avoidable blindness it caused.