Medical researcher urges government to prioritize elephantiasis

A researcher, Dr Bamidele Iwalokun, on Wednesday urged government at all levels to make elephantiasis a priority among public health problems in the country. Iwalokun, a researcher at the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), made the appeal in an interview in Lagos.

He said that elephantiasis had not been given adequate attention in terms of resource allocation for its research, diagnosis, treatment and public enlightenment.

“Nigeria is said to be the most lymphatic filariasis (elephantiasis) endemic country in Africa with two third of Nigerians at risk of being affected by the disease. “Worried by the development, the Federal Ministry of Health in 2012 launched a national guideline for the implementation of interventions to eliminate all mosquito related diseases, including malaria and elephantiasis in Nigeria.

“But this intervention has yet to be totally implemented, especially at the rural areas where this disease is endemic. “While the disease is preventable and treatable, it still constitutes a major public health problem in the country and a barrier to social and economic development,’’ he said.

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