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Dr. Ehanire Osagie, the Minister of Health, claims that the Cranio-Facial Centre at the National Hospital, Abuja treats Noma patients without charging them anything.
Noma is a disease that quickly eats away at both hard and soft tissues, but it is not contagious.
Osagie claims that it also causes a bizarre disfigurement of the head and face by eating away at the bones of the mouth and, ultimately, the face.
At the celebration of the 2022 National Noma Day and Scientific Conference in Abuja on Tuesday, Osagie made the disclosure.
The event, titled “Noma, a disease that should not exist anymore,” was co-organized by the Ministry of Health and the National Orientation Agency (NOA).
“The disease progresses rapidly and, if not treated promptly and appropriately, gets worse and puts the patient’s life in jeopardy.
“Noma affects children between the ages of two and six, has a fatality rate of 90%, and is caused by malnutrition, extreme poverty, and a compromised immune system.
Osagie stated, “Those who survive will suffer severe facial disfigurement, have difficulty speaking and eating, and face ridicule and discrimination.”
He thanked Hilfaksion Noma eV, a German non-governmental organization interested in battling Noma in the nation, for its support.
“The support of Hilfaksion Noma eV, a German non-governmental organization dedicated to the global fight against Noma, cannot be included in the history of Noma control in Nigeria.
Through the World Health Organization (WHO), they provide assistance to the Nigerian National Noma Control Program, which focuses primarily on education, training, and prevention.
He added, “They are also further assisting Nigeria by building a Noma, Nutrition, and Cranio-Facial Centre at the National Hospital, Abuja, with 100 beds, where Noma patients will be treated and operated upon at no cost to them.”
As per him, the Noma Kids’ Medical clinic in Sokoto is one more medical clinic giving free therapy to Noma patients, recording around 10 new cases consistently.
In this regard, I will praise Medicine Sans Frontières for their efforts to maintain service at the Noma Children’s Hospital Sokoto.
The minister stated, “Noma is preventable and its aggressive progression can be stopped with early diagnosis and treatment.”
He says that the Federal Ministry of Health is doing a lot of things to make people aware of this disease.
He went on to say that the ministry was teaching a variety of healthcare professionals how to identify, treat, and properly refer cases from all over the affected nation.
“There has been positive outcome from these stages of preparation as proven in the rising number of cases being accounted for from clinics, not at all like beforehand, when victims knew not where to look for treatment.
In terms of budget allocation, advocacy and promotion, and efficient oral health care delivery, there is also a paradigm shift in how oral health is prioritized.
The Ministry of Health and the National Primary Health Care Development Agency are working together to include basic oral care in primary health care services.
The minister stated, “The ministry is also working with NOA to ensure that appropriate messages are disseminated at the grass roots.”
He claims that the institution of National Noma Day as an annual event to maintain public awareness of the disease and support efforts to treat and prevent it is symbolically significant.
He stated that Nigerian dental students participated in the campaign to raise awareness of Noma and are organizing a one-month Boot Camp as well as a national Noma Campaign to end stigmatization.
He stated, “Video footages are being uploaded online to generate social media awareness and advocacy on zero stigmatization of persons with Noma, as well as the importance of improved knowledge, attitude, and practice of good oral hygiene.” Additionally, he said, “Video footages are being uploaded online.”
Dr. Tope Adeyemi, President of the Nigerian Dental Association, made a call for sufficient oral health personnel to eradicate the Noma disease in rural areas in his remarks.
“We are faced with the challenge of brain drain and inadequate oral health manpower in rural areas,” Adeyemi stated.
“We therefore advocate for the implementation of the national oral health policy, the integration of oral health into primary health centers (PHCs), and the provision of low-interest loans for dentists to establish practices.

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