In a bid to ensure that Noma (Cancurum Oris) and other health related challenges get the desired attention, the federal government, on Thursday, inaugurated a Local Organising Committee (LOC) to plan a summit for ECOWAS medical experts.
The summit, to be hosted by Oral Health Advocacy Initiative (OHAI), in collaboration with the ministry of health will bring together medical experts in the West African region to chart the way forward for Noma and other health-related challenges in the 21st century.
OHAI, a non governmental organisation dedicated to oral health care, social services and community development, has Noma as one of its programmes and has been in the forefront of advocating for more attention to be given to the subject.
Inaugurating the committee, minister of State for Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, represented by the director, Climate Change in the ministry, Dr UM Ene-Obong, charged the members to consider their membership as call to serve their fatherland and the West African region in general.
While acknowledging that Noma has been listed as one of the diseases meant for eradication and supported by surveillance and notification, he said the Nigerian health sector looks up to the LOC for the success of the summit, which is expected to contribute in no small measure to the sector.
The LOC, the minister said, would be responsible for ensuring that local and international participation is maximised through creating local awareness of the event to all relevant stakeholders in coordination with the organisers.
Speaking earlier, the executive director, OHAI, Dr Ver-or Ngutor, hinted that there is an overwhelming need to galvanise the efforts of medical experts in the sub- region fighting against Noma so that the summit would present a platform to confront the ravaging but ignored diseases in the region.
“For OHAI, we have worked in the hinterlands of 27 states of Nigeria over the years and have appreciated the magnitude of oral health resource deficit and we will not rest until oral health gets the attention it deserves,” Ver-or added.
The LOC members are drawn from the Federal Ministry of Health, its departments and agencies, representatives from ministry of finance, NGOs, ECOWAS, Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, Association of Local Governments of Nigeria, amongst others.