Geared towards curbing the spread of noma disease across Nigeria, Colgate in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health and Nigerian Dental Association has visited Noma Children Specialist Hospital in West Africa, Sokoto for situation analysis.
It also took awareness campaign and preventive measures o one of the largest primary school in Sokoto – Gidan Salihu Model Primary School in Gidan Igwai.
Noma also known as Cancrum Oris is an infective destruction of tissue of the check, mouth or nose and at times the whole face when left untreated.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “the causative agents of noma disease are majorly malnutrition, co-infections, measles and malaria and poor oral hygiene, in addition to that a number of social and environmental factors such as maternal malnutrition and closely-spaced pregnancies that result in offspring with increasingly weakened immune systems, could be strongly related to the onset of the disease.”
WHO, in 1994 declared noma as a public health problem and has estimated that some 770,000 people are affected a conservative estimate according to some commentators mostly in the poorest regions of sub-Saharan Africa. In Asia and South America, 140,000 new cases reported each year.
The Medical Director, NOMA Children Hospital, Dr. Mustapha Abubakar Danjega, took the Colgate team alongside delegates from Federal Ministry of Health and Nigerian Dental Association, round the wards.
He said: “Although noma is most prevalent in children between two to six years, however, there have been cases of children below nine months battling with the infection who are currently undergoing treatments and intervention in the facility.
“It is such a pleasure to have the Colgate and government official visit our hospital to check on patients and give out Colgate toothpaste and toothbrush to everyone.”
The team proceeded to Gidan Salihu Model Primary School, where the children were engaged with vivid demonstration on how to brush their teeth and maintain good oral hygiene amongst other preventive precautions. They had the opportunity to replicate what had been seen demonstrated, after which they all received samples of Colgate toothbrush and toothpaste to take home for onward oral hygiene maintenance.
The Public Relations Manager, Colgate Tolaram Group, Omotayo Abiodun, said, “it gives us so much joy to witness the level of turn out and interest being expressed by these pupils. It shows that once the information gap is bridged particularly in these affected areas, tremendous improvement is guaranteed.
Head of Dentistry and Oral Health, Federal Ministry of Health, Dr. Bola Alonge, disclosed that government recognises the issue as a major problem which must be tackled.
“This is why we have joined hands with Colgate to ensure the noma disease is eradicated as we also have some programs lined up for the upcoming noma week where about 10 nations are expected to come together to deliberate on the noma endemic.
“Because it is more rampant in this part of the country where enlightenment is quite low, which is why we would largely advocate that enlightenment program is taken to the grassroots as prevention is always cheaper than cure,” he said.