Noma Day: FG To Train Professionals On Noma And Other Oral Health Conditions
The Minister of State for Health, Dr,Osagie Enahire says the training of Healthcare workers, National Orientation Agency Officers as well as Community Volunteers on Noma and other oral health conditions, is currently ongoing, to facilitate awareness creation and encourage the afflicted to seek early care.
The minster who stated this at Opening Ceremony of 2nd Edition National Noma Day and Workshop. with the theme: Tackling Noma: The Way Forward, Detect Early and Act Quickly the a triennial action plan for Noma control was developed at the maiden edition of the Noma Day with support from WHO.
Noma, otherwise known as Cancrum Oris, is a fulminating, gangrenous infection of soft tissue around the mouth, predominantly affecting younger persons with poor oral hygiene and predisposing serious illness.
Epidemiological data on Noma is still scarce, but a current estimate of the global incidence is some 30,000–40,000 cases per year, with a mortality rate of approximately 85% and a disease burden estimated to cost anywhere between 1 & 10 million disability-adjusted life years (DALYs).
“Noma is a gangrenous infection that is both deadly and disfiguring to the patients. Up to 90 per cent of patients who do not receive treatment may die. While the project is based in Sokoto state, patients come from all over Nigeria. Very little is known about noma. ‘
“Survivors of noma are left with holes or disfigurements on their face, difficulties with everyday tasks like speaking, eating, swallowing food along with social isolation. In Sokoto hospital, MSF sends highly specialized surgeons to operate on patients. Patients also receive support with nutrition, mental health and physiotherapy. All free of cost.”he said.
According to the minster “prevention and early detection of this devastating disease, like of many other disease conditions in Nigeria, are given high priority, to reduce incidence and improve the chances of those who contract.’
‘Noma can be prevented by a combination of common measures like creating more national awareness of the disease, reducing poverty, improving hygiene, sanitation and nutrition, promoting exclusive breastfeeding in the first 6 months of life, improving prenatal care, vaccination against common childhood diseases and, above all, early detection and treatment of ulcerative gingivitis and stomatitis.”
“The Federal Ministry of Health has been working with partners like the World Health Organisation African Region (WHO Afro), Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF-H), Hilfsaktion Noma, Oral Health Advocacy Initiative (OHAI) and other stakeholders on the best strategy to tackle the Noma scourge in Nigeria.’he added.
On his part the,World Health Organisation Country Representative, Dr. Wondi Alemu, represented by Dr. Rex Mpazanje, said
communities suffering from extreme poverty and malnutrition are at increased risk of Noma and are often referred to as the “the face of poverty” and those who survive Noma are thus left to suffer from discrimination and stigmatization from their community.
“Over 140,000 children suffer from Noma every year and victims are almost always children between the ages of two and six. Without treatment, Noma is fatal in 70-90% of cases and survivors suffer from severe facial disfigurement, have difficulty speaking and eating and face social stigma (2016 WHO Information brochure on Noma)”
“WHO has been supporting the FMOH in its fight against Noma in Nigeria. Some of the support include: the development of a triennial action plan for Noma, supported the maiden edition of the first No Noma day and stakeholder meetings, supported the National training of trainers for Healthcare workers/social actors and produced training manuals and IEC materials to improve early diagnosis and management of Noma cases at primary healthcare level.”
“The WHO’s strategy to fight against Noma is based on a 5-prong strategy includiing: prevention and early detection, immediate care, informing and educating the public, epidemiological data collection and the creation of a referral center for treating its aftereffects.”
An effective control of Noma requires a multisectoral approach, I hereby call upon other key government sectors, partners, foundations, institutions and individuals to join our efforts to control this disease.he added.