NewsMSF, FG Urge WHO To Recognise Noma As Neglected Tropical Disease

MSF, FG Urge WHO To Recognise Noma As Neglected Tropical Disease


February 05, (THEWILL) – An International medical organisation, Médecins Sans Frontières, otherwise known as Doctors Without Borders (MSF), says it has supported Nigeria’s request for the World Health Organization (WHO), to recognize Noma disease as a Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD).

The organization’s Field Communication Officer for Nigeria, Abdulkareem Yakubu, disclosed this in a statement made available to Journalists.

The statement described the move as a step towards the inclusion of the little-known but life-threatening disease as a Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD) by the global body.


It stated that the effort was built on three-year international advocacy and communication campaigns.

“After a three-year international advocacy and communication campaign, a representative from the Federal Ministry of Health of Nigeria shared the dossier on noma with WHO offices in Abuja, Brazzaville and Geneva in January 2023.

“MSF supported Nigeria in finalising the dossier and engaging with the co-sponsors, which include 30 countries from five WHO regions,” he disclosed.

The statement further said the request for noma’s inclusion on the WHO’s list was in line with the resolution on oral health adopted in 2021, at the 74th World Health Assembly recommending that “noma should be considered for inclusion in the NTD portfolio as soon as the list is reviewed in 2023.”

It noted that the health body would take the final decision on whether to add noma to its list of neglected tropical diseases during one of its biannual meetings in 2023.

It reiterated that Noma is a preventable and treatable disease that affects people living in poverty, especially young children, and is associated with malnutrition and unsanitary living conditions.

“Mostly it affects people in isolated communities, who have limited access to healthcare and vaccinations.

“Those who survive are left with a severe facial disfigurement that can make it hard to eat, speak, see or breathe. Survivors often face stigma because of their disfigurement.

“There is no other infectious disease that kills so many people, so quickly.

“People die from noma because of limited knowledge about the disease and how to detect it. More effort is needed to detect cases early and identify survivors.” It further stated.

MSF Health Advisor for Nigeria, Mark Sherlock, said, “the inclusion of noma in the list would shine a spotlight on the most neglected of neglected diseases, facilitating the integration of noma prevention and treatment activities into existing public health programmes and the allocation of much-needed resources.

“We want children to be screened in endemic countries for noma from the first sign of symptoms when lives can still be saved. Noma is a disease that should no longer exist ”


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