Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Health and The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust Trachoma Initiative jointly hosted the event. Pictured are three key attendees (from left): Sightsavers’ Nigeria Country Director Dr Sunday Isiyaku; Prof Eka Braide, who is co-chair of the Nigerian NTD steering committee and a member of Sightsavers’ board of trustees; and Dr Astrid Bonfield, CEO of The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust.
More than 100 million people in Nigeria are at risk of getting or have an untreated NTD. The diseases are poverty-related and include degenerating conditions such as trachoma and river blindness. These diseases can be treated and prevented, but are known to affect the poorest and most remote communities in the world.
Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Health is currently working with a number of countries and organisations to eliminate 10 NTDs in the country as part of the World Health Organisation global targets for NTD control and elimination by 2020.
Our Country Director, Dr Sunday Isiyaku said, “Sightsavers is appreciative for the strong Nigerian political leadership on NTDs which has been consistent. We also value the funding support of donors like The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust Trachoma Initiative and the UK government’s Department for International Development. Events like this highlight that by working together we can work towards ambitious elimination targets.”
Since 2014, The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust Trachoma Initiative has supported the Nigerian government, working with members of the International Coalition for Trachoma Control (ICTC), and coordinated by Sightsavers, to eliminate blinding trachoma.
CEO of The Trust, Dr Astrid Bonfield said, “The Trust is delighted to bring together partners working to combat blinding trachoma in Nigeria. Trachoma is an ancient, excruciatingly painful, and ultimately blinding condition, yet by following a tried and tested strategy, it can be completely eliminated. The Trust was set up to enrich the lives of people and leave a lasting legacy across the Commonwealth, in honour of Her Majesty The Queen, and I hope that by working together, the legacy we leave in Nigeria is that people are free from the threat of blinding trachoma.”
People in Nigeria with diseases affecting the skin have shared their photos as part of a research project into how these conditions can be better managed.
Sightsavers directors Balla Musa and Phil Downs reflect on what this achievement means for The Gambia, and how other countries can learn from the experience.