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World Water Day – New approach to tackling Neglected Tropical Diseases in Nigeria

Posted on: Wednesday, March 22nd, 2023

World Water Day, held on 22 March every year since 1993, celebrates water and raises awareness of the 2 billion people living without access to safe water worldwide. This year, we are highlighting the need to improve access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene to underserved communities where people are affected by many Neglected Tropical Diseases. 

Together with our long-term partners HANDS (Health and Development Support), we have just launched CiSKuLA, an innovative new project in Nigeria to help treat and eliminate Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) such as Lymphatic Filariasis and River Blindness. 

This new project takes its name from the Hausa phrase ‘Cikkaken Shirin Kula da Lafiyar Al’umma’, meaning “inclusive and holistic” care. NTD projects in the past have often focussed only on mass drug distribution for people at risk of infection by NTDs. In contrast, this project is innovative and ambitious in its scope by integrating with an existing mass drug distribution programme to prevent disease transmission in the area, and also drawing in many other key elements of care. These include accessible water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) activities, as well as inclusive health care, mental health and livelihood support for people already living with these blinding and debilitating diseases.  

The CiSKuLA project will work in Birnin Kudu in Jigawa State. Over two years, the project will include: 

  • Preventative treatments and surgeries
  • Teaching self-care and management of symptoms 
  • Inclusive WASH facilities, including setting up WASH clubs in local schools
  • Self-help groups for those affected by NTDs
  • Addressing stigma in local communities
  • Inclusive livelihoods particularly accessible for women and men with disabilities 

Woman with leg severely swollen due to lymphoedema, observing the washing of her leg

Asabe has lymphoedema caused by Lymphatic Filariasis. Here she learns the importance of clean water in limb care. Image credit: HANDS

CiSKuLA launch event 

CiSKuLA was launched recently with an event in Dutse, the capital city of Jigawa State. Adedeji Ademefun, CBM Country Programme Manager, thanked all stakeholders (many of whom had participated in the co-creation project design process) for attending, and called on everyone present to “actively participate in the implementation of this project through stimulating an enabling environment so that persons affected and at risk of NTDs can enjoy their human rights and reach their full potential.” 

Theresa Baird, CBM UK Senior Programme Officer, charged stakeholders to “gather evidence in our holistic and inclusive approach here in Birnin Kudu and share it widely so that persons with disabilities from NTDs may be included in social health and economic circles as we work together to eliminate NTDs from Jigawa State and beyond.” 


Main image: HANDS, CBM Global and Ministry of Health gather for the launch of the Ciskula project. Image credit: HANDS