Kano’s Commissioner for Health, Dr. Ibrahim Tsanyawa, says five endemic diseases currently plague residents of some local governments in the state.
Tsanyawa said the diseases are river blindness, trachoma, bilharziasis, lymphatic filariasis and soil-transmitted helminths.
‘Helminth’ means parasitic worm. The main species that infect people are the roundworm, the whipworm and the hookworms.
He said 18 local governments in the state are currently battling river blindness, while trachoma is present in 10 local governments.
He recalled that more than 200 leprosy cases were detected and treated through contact tracing, while 500 persons were treated for leprosy reactions.
The commissioner also said that last year, the government had enrolled 526 leprosy patients for basic healthcare under its State Contributory Healthcare Management Agency.
Tsanyawa made this known on Monday in Kano at a news conference to commemorate the 2021 World Leprosy Day and World Neglected Tropical Diseases Day.
Observed on the last Sunday of January each year, World Leprosy Day is a day set aside by the United Nations to drum up support, raise awareness and attention toward people living with the disease.
This year’s awareness has ‘End Stigma and Advocate for Mental Well Being’ as its theme.
Leprosy, also known as Hansen’s disease, is a chronic infectious disease caused by mycobacterium leprae. The disease mainly affects the skin, the peripheral nerves, mucosal surfaces of the upper respiratory tract and the eyes.
The disease is known to occur among persons of all ages, but experts say it is curable in the early stages, thereby preventing disability.
Leprosy is likely transmitted via droplets, from the nose and mouth, during close and frequent contact with untreated cases.
The Kano commissioner, therefore, said that patients enrolled into the scheme were among the 4,734 people with disabilities, and are expected to access free healthcare services at primary and secondary levels.
He highlighted the major clinical signs of leprosy to include hypo pigmentation anesthetic skin, as well as history of contact with untreated cases.
Tsanyawa said that Kano State Government had done ‘significantly well’ in reducing the transmission of tropical diseases, in line with the National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Program guidelines.
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