Nigeria has the largest burden of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) in sub-Saharan Africa accounting for 25% of the total burden of the diseases in Africa (NTD Master Plan, 2012). In Nigeria the Federal Ministry of Health provides oversight and policies for endemic States who implement the NTD programme.
The intervention unit is considered to be the local government areas embedded within each State. At the Federal level, there exists an NTD Multi-Year Master Plan, which was designed to achieve the WHO target of eliminating /controlling the NTDs by 2020. The strategic goal of the NTD programme is to progressively reduce morbidity, disability and mortality of these diseases using integrated and cost-effective approaches with the view to eliminate NTDs in Nigeria by the year 2020. While progress has been made, a number of barriers/challenges to sustaining progress and achieving the goal have become apparent. In Nigeria, the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) employs preventive chemotherapy as the core control and elimination strategy for 5 of the 17 NTDs; lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis, soil transmitted helminths (using ivermectin and albendazole), schistosomiasis (using praziquantel) and trachoma (using azithromycin). Previously, preventative chemotherapy for these diseases has been implemented through vertical programmes for each of the NTDs. However, there is currently a global shift under the umbrella of Expanded Special Project for Elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases (ESPEN) for a more integrated approach to PC delivery across these 5 diseases.