Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) are a diverse group of communicable diseases which almost covers 20 diseases that are caused by bacteria, parasites, viruses, fungi, and arthropod that affects the poor population living in rural and semi-urban settings (WHO, 2018). NTDs causes significant health and financial burdens across the underdeveloped nations. These diseases affect the world’s most vulnerable populations, almost exclusively poor and powerless people living in rural areas and urban slums of low-income countries. Their impact on individuals and communities is devastating. Many of them cause severe disfigurement and disabilities, including blindness. Many are transmitted directly from person to person, while others require insect and snails’ vectors. NTDs coexist with poverty because they thrive where access to clean water and sanitation is limited, and people live without protection from disease vectors. The NTDs also are recognized as a contributor to poverty since they can impair intellectual development in children, reduce school enrolment and hinder economic productivity by limiting the ability of infected individuals to work.

The neglected tropical diseases result from four different causative pathogens:

NTD and Nigeria

VirusProtozoaHelminthBacteriaOther neglected conditions
DenguChaga diseaseCysticercosis / TaeniasisBuruli ulcerChronic suppurative otitis media (CSOM)
RabieHuman African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness)Dracunculiasis (guinea-worm disease)Leprosy (Hansen disease)Mycetoma
LeishmaniasesEchinococcosis TrachomaNodding Syndrome (NS)
Foodborne TrematodiasisYaws (Endemic Treponematoses)sPodoconiosis
Lymphatic filariasisScabies
Onchocerciasis (river blindness)Snakebite
Soil-transmitted helminthiases
Figure 1: Map of Nigeria showing geopolitical zones and states

Nigeria is made up of six geopolitical zones comprising 36 States, a Federal Capital Territory (Abuja), and 774 Local Government Areas. There are about 350 ethnic groups with three predominant ones. The petroleum sector is the mainstay of the Nigerian economy and contributes 36% to the annual GDP, 75% of government revenue and accounting for virtually all foreign exchange earnings. However, with the recent announcement that Nigeria has the highest number of poor people with over 70% of Nigerians live below the poverty line without access to quality and affordable health services and other basic social services. The socioeconomic burden and morbidities due to NTDs in Nigeria will be aggravated if the
current situation if not managed in an integrated manner.

According to the reports from the World Health Organization (WHO, 2019), out of 20 currently recognized NTDs, Nigeria is endemic to 14 of them (Table 1). Nigeria is the most populous nation in Africa with a population of over 190 million people, and annual growth rate of close to 3.0%. This makes Nigeria the most endemic country, not only in Africa but worldwide for many NTDs, such as schistosomiasis, onchocerciasis, lymphatic filariasis and soil transmitted helminthiasis to name a few. Although there are national programmes funded by government and donor agencies to control some of these NTDs, however, these programmes are faced with the challenges emerging from operational, implementation researches, basic and social sciences researches to help guide the control and elimination of NTDs in Nigeria.

NTDs Co endemicity Map – Nigeria (Source Nigeria NTD Masterplan – 2015-2020)
Figure 2: NTDs Co endemicity Map – Nigeria (Source Nigeria NTD Masterplan – 2015-2020)

The magnitude of NTDs burden in Nigeria is so high that supportive evidence-based data are urgently needed and timely, to help NTDs stakeholders at all levels, including academics and policy makers if we are to make progress in NTDs control. This is imperative to meet the UN sustainability development goal 3.3 which says, “By 2030, end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases and combat hepatitis, water-borne diseases and other communicable diseases”.

Giving the quantum of researches that is currently ongoing within the NTDs community in Nigeria, there is the need to provide a focus platform where NTDs research findings and data can be presented, discussed and shared with policy makers and control programme managers for implementation. It is a known fact that all NTDs related researches and publication from Nigeria are currently subsumed in mainstream local and international journals where it is hardly noticed by policy makers and/or program managers. The control of NTDs should not only be a top priority for Nigeria but a platform for cutting-edge dissemination of NTDs researches. The conference focus would be twofold: Leaving no one behind for any NTD and harnessing the potential in the academics to assess progress being made in the control and elimination of NTDs. The context, therefore, will be the current focus on some NTDs to the detriment of others, the emphasis on MDA to the detriment of other control efforts that will reach those not requiring chemotherapy, absence/inadequate endemicity/prevalence data for some NTDs, inadequate resources to track progress and unavailability of more precise tools to track progress, as well as alternative and cost-effective approaches to monitor progress towards elimination.

Status of Neglected Tropical Diseases in Nigeria

NTDEstimated number of cases SourcesRanking in the World
Buruli UlcerEndemic but number of current cases unknownFMOH, 2015Not determined
Chaga DiseaseNot Endemic
Dengue and ChikungunyaDengue is Endemic, but the status of Chikungunya unknownAdeleke et al. 2016-Not determined
Dracunculiasis (guinea worm)EradicatedFMOH, 2015
EchinococcosisSuspectedAngheben et al., 2017
Food borne Trematodiasis
(Fasciola and Paragonimus)
Endemic but number of cases unknown
Human African TrypanosomiasisEndemic but number of cases unknownFMOH, 2015Not determined
LeishmaniasisSuspectedFMOH, 2015Not determined
Leprosy4531 registered prevalenceHotez et al.,
FMOH, 2015
Lymphatic filariasis106 millionFMOH, 20153rd
Mycetoma, Chromoblastomycosis
and other deep Mycoses
Not Known
Onchocerciasis31 millionFMOH, 20151s
RabiesEndemic but number of cases unknownFMOH, 2015Not determined
Scabies and other ectoparasitesEndemic but number of cases unknown
Schistosomiasis13 – 29 millionEkpo et al, 2013 1st
Soil transmitted helminthiasis
(Ascariasis, Trichiasis, Hookworm)
5.7 millionOluwole et al., 2015 4th or 5th
Snakebite envenomingEndemic but number of cases unknown
Taeniasis/CysticercosisEndemic but number of cases unknown
Trachoma18 millionHotez et al, 2012Not determined
Yaws (Endemic Treponematoses)Endemic but number of cases unknown