The Federal Government revealed that Nigeria recorded 21,357 cases of noma infectious disease.
Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, stated this at the commenmoration of 2017 World Noma day, in Abuja, he said Noma has virtually disappeared in the developed countries but it is an escalating public health scourge in the developing world.
He said Noma” is derived from the Greek word ‘to devour’ or “Cancrum Oris”. Noma is a devastating infectious disease that destroys the soft and hard tissues of the oral and Para-oral structures. The resulting dehumanizing oro-facial gangrene may involve the mandible and the nose and may occasionally extend to the infra-orbital magin.
According to Adewole, “A recent surveillance report from the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) reveals that over 25,000 children between the ages of 0 to 59 months were reported to have Noma between 2012 and 2015 in Nigeria with 21,357 cases reported in 2015.
“The report also shows a spread across all the six geopolitical zones in the country. These figures are alarming and call for urgent actions and a multi-stakeholder approach to stem the tide of its spread in Nigeria. In 1982, the Federal Ministry of Health in collaboration with World Health Organization (WHO) established the inter-country Centre for Oral Health Research (ICOH) in Jos, Plateau State. The Centre caters for oral health needs, research and training needs of member states in the African Region”.
He lamented how expensive the treatment of Noma is especially to the less privilege, “The treatment of Noma is expensive in terms of specialist manpower and materials required. The situation is worse amongst poor peasant farmers and nomadic herdsmen who cannot afford the cost of treatment.
“The current incidence of Noma in Africa and Nigeria can be attributed to the worsening economic crisis, wars, famine, flood, natural and man-made disasters, deteriorating sanitation, declining nutritional status and the current escalation in the incidence of HIV/AIDS, and increased exposure to infectious diseases that have adversely affected the health and well-being of children”.
He said the Federal Ministry of Health is in the process of partnering with a German NGO, Hilfastion noma ev in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) to establish a National Noma Control Programme in Nigeria and include Noma prevention and control into Primary Healthcare services.
The Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Clement Uwaifo, in his welcome address said the National Noma Day is to alert Nigerians of the dangers of Noma and its effect on children; increase actions to prevent cases of Noma in the States concerned; reinforce the commitment of the Federal and State governments to the control of this disease, and to develop as well as foster partnerships between private initiatives and public authorities to improve the prevention of Noma.
“In addition, we need to mobilize resources to fight noma and implement a policy of common actions to eventually eradicate it in Nigeria” he said.