GPS and phones to help map neglected diseases in Africa

Nigerian health officials partnering with international experts have embarked on a national programme to map Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) by analysing data obtained from 14 of the country’s 36 states. According to Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Health, the country and the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia and Tanzania — contribute to more than 50 per cent of the NTDs burden in Africa, partly because they have climatic conditions that favour the diseases.

Experts say common NTDs in Nigeria include schistosomiasis, soil-transmitted helminth infections, trachoma, onchocerciasis and lymphatic filariasis. “Data on the geographical distribution of NTDs are required to target treatment to areas of greatest need and to estimate drug and resource requirements.”

Simon Brooker, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

The programme, led by Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Health and Sightsavers — a UK-registered charity that is combating blindness in developing countries — is expected to be completed by the end of this year. It is funded by the UK Department for International Development.

A team of international experts from UK-based London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine led by Simon Brooker, a professor of epidemiology, trained health officials on the mapping last month (20-24 […]

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