60M At Risk Of Sleeping Sickness in Sub-Saharan Africa

Map of Africa

By Amos Tauna

Kaduna (Nigeria)– A Lecturer with the Faculty of Vetenary Medicine, Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, northwest Nigeria, Shuaibu Mohammed, has said that there are about 70,000 cases of sleeping sickness in Nigeria every year, while an estimated of 60 million people are at the risk of the infection in sub Saharan Africa annually.

Speaking at the First Annual Conference on Climate Change jointly organized by African Climate Reporters and Womenhood Foundation of Nigeria in Kaduna, the Lecturer said, “Climate change is a natural phenomenon that is characterized  by global warming, rising sea level and other extreme environmental events.

“Climate is essential to ecosystem services and stability. One of the consequences of climate change is the shifting boundaries for many components and processes within the systems.”

Mohammed explained that among these components, are pathogens and infectious diseases.
“Vector-borne diseases are particularly sensitive to warming because temperature changes can alter vector development rates, shift their geographical distribution and alter transmission dynamics.

“Trypanosome, a vector-borne disease of humans and animals, was recently identified as one of the 12 infectious diseases likely to spread owing to climate change. It is the most critical factor that limits the southwards migration of Fulani.

“ln Northern Nigeria, climate change impacts are mainly flood, drought and rural urban migration,” he added.

Also in a paper on “Effects of Climate Change in Nigeria,” Nurudeen Bello stated that the adverse effect or impact of climate change such as temperature rise, erratic rainfall, sandstorm, desertification, low agriculture yields, drying of water body lake Chad basin, gully erosion and constant flooding are daily realities in Nigeria.

He noted that climate change also known as global warming refers to rise in average surface temperature on earth, saying that overwhelming scientific consensus maintained that climate change was due to human use of fossil fuel which released carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas estimates into the air.

“The gases trap heat within the temperature, which can have a range of effects on ecosystems including rise in sea levels, severe weather  event, drought that render landscape more susceptible to widefires,” he explained.

Earlier, Dr. Yusuf Nadabo, a lecture with Kaduna State University who spoke on the importance of Science journalism enjoined Nigeria media practitioners to show more interest, commitment and zeal to science news and reporting as exemplified in western world for purposes of information and promotion of science research and encouragement.

According to him, science research, discovery and presentation without proper publicity remains a limbo and of little benefit to large public, saying that valuable times spent to read extensively is what it takes to make a good science and climate reporter, and nothing to fear.

African climate reporters from French speaking neighboring countries and Nigeria, attended the event.

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