The Carter Centre for Neglected Tropical Disease Programme for Plateau and Nasarawa has called for an effective policy of prohibiting open defecation toward eradicating schistosomiasis.
The Director of the centre, Dr Abel Eigege said on Wednesday in Jos that schistosomiasis, also known as bilharzias is an infectious disease caused by parasitic worms, adding that the worms could cause acute and chronic infections, with symptoms like fever, blood in urine or stools and abdominal discomfort.
According to him, schistosomiasis had been effectively eradicated in Plateau and Nasarawa states, adding that it might easily reemerge if people continued to defecate and urinate in the open.
“When people engage in the act of open defecation and urination, this is washed back to the various sources of water and people get re-infected. This is another major challenge, which has to be addressed urgently in order to sustain the success already achieved in the eradication of the disease in the state,’’ the director said.
Eigege said there was an urgent need for the Plateau government to ensure that the policy, which prohibits open defecation was enforced to sustain the success of the eradication of the disease.
He said the centre had also eradicated lymphatic filariasis, commonly known as elephantiasis successfully, disclosing that both states were the first in Nigeria to achieve this feat.
Elephantiasis, he said is also a neglected tropical disease and a parasitic disease caused by microscopic threadlike worms in both states, adding that the Centre was being faced with the challenge of re-infection, making its personnel to work very hard to sustain the successes already attained.
“We are working hard around the first line and second line villages that border Plateau and Nasarawa that have not achieved the eradication successes on elephantiasis and river blindness,’’ Eigege said.