Ghana Health Service launches project to prevent, eradicate Neglected Tropical Diseases

GHSThe Ghana Health Service (GHS) has developed and launched a project to eradicate Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), which over the years had undermined the socio-economic development of the country.

The project dubbed: “End in Africa – Ghana and 2012 MDA’s for NTDs” is aimed to address the morbidity and mortality associated with NTDs with the main strategies being mass drug administration and undertaking clinical management of complications across the country.

It would also provide public health education to all targeted endemic communities for all the NTD’s.

Ghana is burden with a number of neglected NTDs, which include Trachoma, Lymphatic Filariasis, Onchocerciasis, Schistosomiasis, Soil Transmitted Helminthiasis, Buruli Ulcer, Leprosy, Yaws, Guinea worm, Human African Trypanosomiasis and Cutaneous leishmaniasis.

The project is currently targeted at diseases such as Trachoma, Lymphatic Filariasis, Onchocerciasis, Schistosomiasis and Soil Transmitted Helminthiasis.

Other NTDs such as Buruli Ulcer, Leprosy and Yaws, which employ active case search and management, are being managed and implemented as disease specific programmes under the Public Health Division.

Launching the project, Mr Alban Sumani Bagbin, Minister of Health, emphasized that the country’s disease profile was characterized by the levels of communicable and pregnancy-related diseases.

He said the high incidence of non communicable disease was a major challenge facing Ghana’s health sector.

“We are still burden with long list of NTDs and which way you perceive these diseases, they come under one common denominator – they are known as ‘the poor man’s diseases; occurring almost exclusively among the poor, rural and deprived communities around the country”, he said.

He noted that the Health Ministry and GHS were seeking to improve collaboration not only with development partners, but also with other ministries, departments and agencies that are equally focused on delivering basic human services to eradicate NTDs.

“I believe that this is the only sure way to achieve a more and holistic and higher coverage and impact”, he added.

Mr Bagbin said government had provided GH¢1.4 million to strengthen monitoring and supervision in order to improve coverage of mass drug administration and surveillance of NTDs.

He assured government’s commitment to provide the necessary resources for the prevention and control of NTDs in the country.

Mrs Lisa Kramer, PMI Advisor Team Leader of USAID, pledged the organisation’s commitment to provide the necessary support to address the challenges facing the health sector.

The project was collaborated with development partners including USAID, Catholic Relief Services, fhi360, African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control, Mectizan Donation Programme, Liverpool Centre for NTDs, Sightsavers, World Health Organisation and Africa Lumphatic Filariasis Support Centre .

Source: GNA

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