THE Lagos State Government, through the Ministry of Health, on Wednesday, July 6, 2022, announced the 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.
This disclosure was made by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry Of Health, Dr Olusegun Ogboye at the MAM micro-planning meeting with implementing stakeholders and partners held at the Ostra Hall in Alausa-Ikeja.
He 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 of implementation will run from the 29th of June to the 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.
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.
“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.”
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 then explained that the process will involve the 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.
Executive Director, MITOSATH, Dr Fransisca Olamiju in her remarks stated that the collaboration of MITOSATH, the 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 the ages of five and 14 years adding that Praziquantel tablets would be administered to school-aged children for the prevention and control of the disease.
“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, and 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.