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Doctors without Border decry low vaccination against NOMA disease

An International Humanitarian Medical and Non-Governmental Organization, Medecins Sans Frontieres, popularly known as Doctors Without Borders says it is worried that Nigeria has allegedly not done much in the areas of vaccination as the country’s Noma diseases continue to rise.

The NOMA Representative of Medecins Sans Frontieres, Dr. Peter Ajantan stated this in Abuja during this year’s World NOMA day celebration.

He said a survey conducted by a private research Institute, shows that Noma disease is prevalent amongst children particularly in the Northwest and Northeastern region of Nigeria and other rural communities in the country where poverty is extreme.

Dr. Ajantan said 1,200 children had been subjected to surgical interventions due to their severity, a situation he noted could have been avoided if there was proper awareness and vaccination against the disease.

”The level of immunization coverage in Nigeria is very low. I can tell you that from that survey, 27% both in the entire northeast and northwest of children have received zero dose of vaccine’‘, he noted.

The National Coordinator, NOMA Aid Nigeria Initiative, Dr. Charles Ononiwu said efforts were on to establish a NOMA centre at the National Hospital in Abuja to ameliorate the financial burden associated with surgical interventions which families of Noma patients face.

The Chief Medical Director of the NOMA Children Hospital in Sokoto, Dr Shefiu Isah said the centre is overwhelmed.

On his part, the Director-General of NOA, Dr. Garba Abari, who was represented by a Deputy Director in the Agency, Mrs. Theresa Maduekwe said NOA was collaborating with the Ministry of Health to end the myths associated with NOMA disease.

The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire appreciated the organizers of the programme; saying the federal government was working with other stakeholders to integrate basic package of oral care within the primary healthcare centre framework to address the problem.

NOMA is a rapidly progressive and often fatal infection of the mouth and face which predominantly affects children between the ages of two and six years old in poor countries around the world.

Reporting by Oluwaseyi Ajibade; Editing by Tersoo Nicholas and Annabel Nwachukwu