The FGS Society of Nigeria - World NTD Day and 2023 plans
The Female Genital Schistosomiasis Society of Nigeria (FGSSoN) is an NGO officially launched in March 2022 with a mission to eliminate Female Genital Schistosomiasis (FGS) and other related infectious diseases and cancers in Nigeria and globally.
With over a thousand members all over Nigeria, the Society is well networked across the six geopolitical zones and 36 states of Nigeria including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). The members cut across all works of life, consisting of NTD researchers, schistosomiasis controls experts, program implementers, healthcare workers, people affected by FGS and health policy-makers.
Established just a year ago, the Society has achieved a lot in its first year: in the community, FGSSoN has raised FGS awareness through various radio and television programs. For healthcare professionals, the outreach work included presenting at annual general meetings and scientific conferences of professional bodies, advocacy visits to ward health committees, state ministry of health and government healthcare agencies. The Society also visited the management teams of tertiary hospitals, and donated video colposcopes to two tertiary hospitals in Nigeria. The FGSSoN's first academic article was published in the West African Journal of Medicine, a case report on FGS associated with Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the vulva; and delivered lectures at the BILGENSA workshop in Zambia.
Celebrating World NTD Day with a focus on FGS
Starting the second year strong, for World NTD Day 2023 the Society carried out the following activities across a number of states in Nigeria:
- FGS awareness creation to healthcare workers through hybrid lectures - FGS training of community healthcare workers and distributed posters to be used at the facilities; FGS awareness creation among doctors at Family Medicine Department and post basic nursing students at FTHG
- FGS awareness creation in communities through drama in local language, including performance by the FGS Society of Nigeria Drama Team
- FGS posters in local language and radio and television FGS awareness programs in Hausa and English
- Free distribution of praziquantel (Donated by private organizations, individuals, and a hospital service management board) in Zamfarawa communities where FGS cases have been identified
- Distribution of WHO FGS Atlas to the management of tertiary hospitals (Federal Teaching Hospital Gombe; State Specialist Hospital Gombe; Rasheed Shekoni Teaching Hospital Jigawa and Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital)
- World NTD Day march against FGS with branded T-shirts and caps at Federal Teaching Hospital Gombe and at State Specialist Hospital Gombe for World NTD Day
- Official opening of the office in the FCT, Abuja a with press conference.
Looking ahead to 2023
After the success of World NTD Day, the Society is planning a wide range of ambitious activities in 2023:
- Conduct FGS/MGS burden survey in Nigeria
- Research on impacts of praziquantel on FGS lesions in Nigeria
- Feasibility research on integration of FGS, MGS, HIV, and cervical cancer services in Nigeria
- Advocacy visits to and lobbying of the Federal Ministry of Education, National University Commission, and other regulatory bodies for incorporation of FGS/MGS into tertiary education curriculum in Nigeria
- Maintain the already established partnership with National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) and Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
- Advocacy visits to and lobbying of the forthcoming 10th National Assembly for constituency water projects to identify schistosomiasis-endemic communities
- FGSSoN in collaboration with partners to scale up FAST Package project to Nigeria
- Collaborating with other relevant partners, to make available appropriate diagnostic tools for schistosomiasis and FGS/MGS at Point-Of-Care in the community.
The FGSSoN is excited to continue working with the GSA, strengthen the network, explore new partnerships and expand the Society in Nigeria and beyond, working towards a world free of FGS and other neglected tropical diseases.