Government urged to develop plan for Buruli Ulcer
Dr George Amofa Ansah, Former Deputy Director General of Ghana Health Service, on Tuesday called for an advocacy strategy as well as a fund raising plan to mobilise sustainable resources for Buruli Ulcer control.
He said the Ministry of Health should also include the management of Buruli Ulcer under the National Health Insurance Scheme.
Dr Ansah made this known at a stakeholders meeting to present an Evaluation Report on the Buruli Ulcer Programme in Accra.
He said there is the need for the development of a training plan to address capacity deficiencies of staff in dealing with the infection.
Dr Ansah said the necessary training manuals and guidelines should be developed from the World Health Organisation modules to manage the disease.
He said the awareness of the disease is high among communities in both high and low endemic areas.
“Buruli Ulcer is cited spontaneously as a health problem in the communities. The signs and symptoms of the disease are known in the communities even among children. But misconceptions about causality are high,” he said.
He explained that the use of herbal medication is common in rural areas leading to delays in reporting for treatment and reporting after ulceration and disability had occurred.
Dr Ansah said the Ashanti, Brong Ahafo, Eastern, Central and Greater Accra Regions are the most endemic regions.
He noted that since 2003, the cases in Ashanti, Greater Accra and Eastern Regions declined whilst those in Brong Ahafo and Western Regions stabilised. The only Region where the cases increased was the Central.
He said the most endemic districts cumulatively from 2007 to 2012 were Asante Akim North, Ga West, Upper Denkyira West, Ejisu-Juaben, Atwima Nwabiagya, Ahafo Ano North and Upper Denkyira East.
Dr Ansah said the highest number of reported cases in Ghana was in 2004 when 1,156 cases were reported, followed up in 2005 with 1096 cases and 2006 with 1046 cases. Since 2004, the least number of reported cases had been in 2012 when 632 cases were recorded.
He said there is no sustained public education activities in most districts for the disease due to lack of staff, transport, equipment and funds.
Dr Edwin Ampadu, Manager of National Buruli Ulcer Control Programme said it is an endemic disease mainly found in the forest belt of the country as well as swampy and mining areas.
Dr Ampadu noted that awareness about the disease is low among the public and even within the medical circles while funding is also limited with cases often detected late for various reasons such as beliefs and taboos making treatment a challenge.