… laments low, non-release of budgetary allocations
Parasitology and Public Health Society of Nigeria (PPSN) has challenged Federal and state governments on the adequate funding of the control and elimination of diseases in the country.
PPSN President, Prof Sammy Sam-Wobo, gave this charge during the 47th Annual Conference and 50th anniversary of the Society held in Owerri, the Imo State capital, between October 12 and 13, 2023. No fewer than 15 members were admitted into the Society’s College of Fellows on the occasion.
Sam-Wobo expresed dissatisfaction that the control and elimination of diseases in the country have been largely foreign donor-driven.
He noted that the funding of the control and elimination of diseases in Nigeria is low.
The PPSN President expressed regret that the release of budgetary allocations for the control and elimination of diseases in the country had always been problematic.
He, therefore, urged the Federal and state governments as well as well-meaning Nigerians to take interest in investing in controlling and eliminating diseases such as schistosomiasis and soil transmitted helminthiasis.
Sam-Wobo said, “The problem we’ve had overtime in Nigeria is that the control and elimination of diseases have been donor-driven, which means that it is the external people putting in their money.
“It’s one thing to make provisions for disease control and elimination in the country’s budget, and another thing to ensure the release of funds. Control and elimination of diseases funding is low in Nigeria. I want to urge the state and Federal Governments as well as well-meaning Nigerians to invest in the nation’s disease control and elimination of diseases, including schistosomiasis and soil transmitted helminthiasis.”
The PPSN President, however, commended the fellowship awardees for their contribution towards the Society and particularly towards the control and elimination of diseases in Nigeria and Africa.
Sam-Wobo added that it was a great privilege for him to be the President of the Society and commended the founding fathers of the association for attending its 50th anniversary.
According to him, the Society has made remarkable progress on all fronts, noting that since his assumption of office as the President of the Society efforts are continuously being made to amend its constitution to reflect modern realities and pave the way for a new one.
He expressed the commitment of the Society to doing its best in moving forward.
The PPSN President also expressed appreciation to the 70 distinguished personalities and organisations for their financial support, which has made the 50th anniversary memorable.
He commended the Chairman of the opening ceremony, Prof A.D.W Acholonu; Chief (Dr) Chidiebere Okoroafor, MD, Eberelink Oil and Gas; the VCs of the three universities in Imo State, namely, IMSU, KOMU and University of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, Umuagwu for co-hosting the event; Prof C. Eze, Prof Iyke Dozie and Prof Uchefu Chukwumaeze as well as a host of others.
Some of the PPSN members admitted as Fellows during the Annual Conference included the Country Director of Sightsavers in Nigeria and Ghana, Dr Sunday Isiyaku and the Vice Chancellor, Delta State University, Abraka, Prof Andy Egwunyenga.
Others admitted into the College of Fellows were Prof Rebecca Naphtali, Prof Abdulhamid Ahmed, Prof Dennis Aribodor, Prof Kenneth Opara, Prof Florence Nduka, Prof Ehizogie Egbeobauwaye-Adeyemi, Prof Alexander Odaibo, Prof Nkiruka Orji and Prof Onyinye Ukpai. Parasitology and Public Health experts, including Dr Sam Ugbomoiko, Prof Olaoluwa Akinwale, Prof Okpok Okon and Chief Benjamin Nwobi.
Speaking on behalf of the new Fellows, Country Director, Sightsavers Nigeria and Ghana, Isiyaku said, “Sightsavers, in collaboration with state governments and development partners, has interrupted transmission of onchocerciasis and trachoma in four states in Northwest Nigeria. Sightsaver focuses on preventing avoidable causes of blindness and promoting equality for people with disabilities.
“The Society will continue to partner the Federal Ministry of Health in the control and elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases, NTDs, in Nigeria, Africa and globally. Our organisation has provided treatment of NTDs to over 590million globally through partnership with governments and other development partners.
“I don’t think there is any greater recognition that one can receive apart from the one received from peers who recognise your contributions to Parasitology and Public Health. I could not have reached where I am without the contribution of my organisation, Sightsavers, who gave me the platform to work hard and contribute my quota towards the elimination of neglected tropical disease.”
The Chairman of the opening ceremony, Prof. A.D.W Acholonu expressed delight at his presence on the occasion, saying the high regard and respect he had for PPSN made him to fly in from America to be part of the event.
He commended the current PPSN leadership for living up to expectations, noting that the association is moving in the right direction.
Also speaking on the occasion, the representative of the Minister of Health, Dr. Fatai Oyediran, who is the Director of NTD, Federal Ministry of Health, appreciated PPSN’s contributions towards the control and elimination of diseases in the country.
He said the President Bola Tinubu-led Federal Government is committed to ensuring the total control and elimination of diseases.
He therefore called for continuous partnership between the Federal Government and the PPSN.
The PPSN Colloquium at 50 had Prof. Uche V. Amazigo and Prof Luke Edungbola as discussants while Prof. Eka Braide moderated. The topic was, “Global Control, Elimination and Eradication of Public Health Diseases- A Reflection.”
One of the keynote speakers, Dr. Francesca Olamiju, highlighted the role and collaboration of all concerned in the fight against diseases.
Highpoint of the two-day event was the recognition of some persons with the PPSN Fellowship awards.