Egwuda Joana Ufedo is currently a 500 level medical student at Bingham University Teaching Hospital, Plateau, Nigeria.
She is a member of several committees in NiMSA (Nigerian Medical Students’ Association) and is dedicated to promoting health education and healthier practices in communities. She is a Scrabble fan and in her free time loves to read, write and travel.
What inspired you to enter the World NTD Day Story telling competition?
The number of people living with NTDs in Nigeria is staggering! Nigeria, unfortunately has the largest burden of NTDs in sub-Saharan Africa and accounts for 25% of the total burden of the diseases in Africa. This competition provided a platform to lend my voice in fighting against these diseases through writing, as I firmly believe that advocacy and public awareness are key parts in the eradication of NTDs.
Why does fighting NTDs matter to you?
As a medical student, I have seen ‘statistics’ played out in real life. I have been confronted by children whose lives have been adversely affected by NTDs, directly or indirectly, and individuals whose productivity has been cut short as a result of these diseases. People shouldn’t have to suffer this much from diseases that are preventable, they have the right to live healthy, productive lives. I believe this is very achievable if we all come together to play our part.
How do you intend on continuing the fight against NTDs after this competition?
By using every means and platforms available to me to increase knowledge about the incidence, prevention and treatment of these diseases. Also by playing my part in preventing the transmission of NTDs in my immediate environment.
What would be your request to your country’s leaders regarding fighting NTDs?
In the words of Benjamin Franklin, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. Prevention is and always will be better than cure, especially as it relates to diseases. Nigeria needs to put more resources into preventing these diseases as they adversely affect the country’s overall economy by decreasing productivity and increasing the dependency ratio. If Nigeria is to move forward, these preventable diseases must be brought to the barest minimum. Good health for citizens is a very essential part of the goal of a better Nigeria.