Cameroon’s Roving Ambassador, and former Indomitable Lion, Roger Milla , Patrick Mboma, Joseph-Antoine Bell and François Omam-Biyik are leading the fight against Noma, a rare disease that affects children aged 2-6.
The former indomitable Lions will grants a press conference on Thursday August 12, 2020 in Cameroon’s capital , Yaounde.
What is Noma ?
According to the World Health Organization, Noma is a “necrotizing disease that destroys the mouth and the face”. It generally starts as a mouth legion, and progresses to a ulcerative, necrotizing gingivitis which rapidly progresses to a critical stage if not treated. Noma is said to have a 90% mortality rate, with 140,000 cases reported annually.
In 1994, WHO declared Noma a public health problem. It is prevalent in Sub Saharan Africa with rare cases in Latin America and Asia.
In Cameroon, public health officials say between 30,000 – 40,000 people suffer from the disease yearly, with a high mortality rate of between 80-90%. Life expectancy for sufferers is 40%.
Noma generally affects children aged 2-6 years, suffering from malnutrition, extreme poverty and weakened immune systems.
Without treatment, affected persons die of sepsis, malnutrition and severe dehydration. Survivals are known to suffer speech defects, stigmatization and difficulty in eating.
Causes of Noma Disease?
According to WHO, the causes of the disease are not known, but there are some factors that contribute to the onset of the disease. They are;
-Complex interactions in immunosuppressed children living in extreme poverty.
-poor oral hygiene, malnutrition, malaria, HIV infection, kwashiorkor, maternal malnutrition and closely spaced pregnancies that result in offsprings with weakened immune systems.
Signs, Symptoms and Prevention
NOMA is a disease that can be treated if early diagnosed . Some of the symptoms are ;
-Red or purplish red gums
-Bleeding gums when touched or during brushing teeth
Experts say poor oral hygiene is the most predisposing factor that must be diagnosed and treated. Some stages of the disease are however irreversible.
To prevent the Noma, regularly open and examine kids’ mouths at home or during consultation in hospitals. This favors the quick identification of gum lesions that can develop into Noma.
Kathy Neba Sina