Emmanuel Adeyemi, Lokoja
No fewer than 20 new cases of leprosy have been recorded in Kogi State.
Briefing reporters in Lokoja on Monday at the COVID-19 response palliatives distribution for communities of persons affected by leprosy and disabilities in Kogi State, the State Program Officer, Leprosy Mission Nigeria, (LMN), Mrs Hannah Fashona, explained that the new cases were recorded between January to November 2020.
Fashona who noted that the organization is determined towards ensuring that Nigeria is free from the disease added that the state referrer center located in Ochadamu, Eastern flank of Kogi State had succeeded in treating some patients affected with the disease.
According to her, it is on record that due to fear and lack of knowledge, over 3 million people across the world are living with undiagnosed leprosy and every day the disease causes more damage to their health, livelihood and future.
The LMN program officer added that more than 600 people are diagnosed of leprosy in the world daily adding that over 50 of these are children.
She explained further that Leprosy Mission is embarking on daily research to achieve zero leprosy in the world.
Fashona however faulted the claim of the Federal Government that Nigeria have attain zero elimination campaign of leprosy in the country.
‘The issue in Nigeria is not only limited to leprosy alone. The Federal Ministry of Health recently said they have recorded zero elimination campaign of leprosy, whereas, they in day out, we record new cases of which children are largely involved.
‘Some of this patients don’t come when it is early, they come when it is either grade one or grade two disabilities. They must have gone round the whole herbalist before somebody will refer them to our referrer centre in Ochadamu for them to get solution. The Federal Government has to come in to achieve that zero elimination campaign and should not be by lip service.’
Through raising awareness, prevention, treatment and follow-up, she noted that LMN will continue to support people so that they can leave a normal lives among their pears in the society.
On why Leprosy Mission Nigeria in collaboration with TBF Thompson Foundation were distributing palliatives to persons affected with leprosy and disabilities, Fashona maintained that Covid-19 pandemic has affected so many lives in the world including the rich, poor and the less privileged.
She said the palliatives will be distributed to the most vulnerable persons of leprosy and people leaving with disabilities in Kogi State.
‘If this pandemic could cripple businesses, nations across the world, how much of this people of this caliber. It is obvious that their own situation will terrible. This is why the Leprosy Mission decided to come up with this to cushion the effect of outbreak of corona virus.
Receiving the palliatives on behalf of the Kogi State Ministry of Women Affair and Social Development, the State Commissioner for Women Affair Hajia Fatima Buba who was represented by a Director of the ministry Mrs Adegbola Elizabeth Fumilayo thanked the donors for the kind gesture just as she tasked the beneficiaries to always remember them in prayers.
Adegbola however warned the beneficiaries not to sell the items at is meant for their household consumption.
In his goodwill messages, the chairman, Kogi NGO network Mr Idris Buraina lauded TLM Nigeria for their continuous intervention at ameliorating the sufferings of the less privileged in the state, stressing that, Civil Societies will continue to partner with them to achieve zero leprosy in Nigeria.
Items distributed includes food stuffs ranging from rice, beans, garri, noodles, oil, seasoning, sugar, salt and personal hygiene materials.