A diagrammatic representation of a Child Suffering from Noma; a rapidly progressive and often fatal infection of the mouth and face.

NANI Inaugurates Treatment Centre for Noma Victims in Abuja

A new treatment centre for the life-threatening disease, noma, has been inaugurated in Abuja. Noma Centre Abuja, as the centre will be known, was scheduled to be opened on Noma Day, commemorated each year to raise awareness and to prevent the disease. The Nigerian government has committed to eliminate the disease from the country by 2030.

Noma Aid Nigeria Initiative (NANI), a Nigerian non-governmental organisation with support from German Hilfsaktion Noma eV; is working with the Ministry of Health to construct the 80-bed treatment centre within the grounds of the National Hospital in Abuja. Funding for the centre comes from small donations from people in Germany and Austria.

The grand opening of the Noma Centre Abuja marked a significant step in NANI’s commitment to supporting the government to eliminate noma disease in Nigeria. The devastating disease that primarily affects the mouth and face affects children between the ages of two and six years, living in poor households.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the disease is fatal in about 90 per cent of cases, if not detected early and the progression can be limited through access to a nutritious diet and basic sanitation and hygiene.

“Our whole-of-society approach to improving population health means quality care for every condition affecting Nigerians. Noma disease remains a burden in low- and middle-income countries, especially those along the Noma belt, including Nigeria. The Renewed Hope agenda is also about restoring the dignity of people. Not only are you treating, but you are restoring the dignity of the patient,” Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Muhammad Pate.

Noma Aid Nigeria Initiative has been at the forefront of efforts to combat this neglected tropical disease, and establishing this treatment centre is a testament to the dedication to improving the lives of those affected. Located centrally for ease of access in Abuja, the purpose-built treatment centre is equipped with state-of-the-art instruments to perform reconstructive surgeries and provide a comprehensive and specialised environment for the rehabilitation of noma patients. The services will be provided to patients free of charge.

“The dignity of every child matters to us, so we expect to create an environment where the children will not only be treated through highly skilled reconstructive surgeries, but also where they can have a loving and caring environment in which every member of staff will be involved in their recovery and rehabilitation journey,” said NANI’s national coordinator, Dr. Charles Ononiwu, who heads the new centre.

SOURCE: The Guardian