Neglected Tropical Diseases resurfacing in Sunyani West Municipality

Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) are re-surfacing in the Sunyani West Municipality of the Bono Region, and becoming a serious health burden in the area, Mrs Benedicta Oppong Fremah, the Sunyani Municipal Disease Control Officer has said.

The Municipality has recorded and managing 17 cases of lymphatic filariasis (elephantiasis), 18 cases of hydrocele, and few cases of onchocerciasis.

Speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) at the 2019 annual review meeting of the Directorate held at Odumase, Mrs Fremah said cases were common at Tanom, Kobedi, Chiraa and Bofourkrom.

The Municipal Disease Control Officer could not immediately give remote causes of the disease, but regretted that most of the victims of elephantiasis were not taking the drugs which had been provided them to manage the disease.

Mrs Fremah appealed to stakeholders in the health sector to support the Directorate to help identify cases and manage them properly to stem any possible outbreak.

She said elephantiasis was caused by mosquitoes, and advised residents in the Municipality to sleep under treated mosquito nets to protect themselves and their children.

Mrs Roseline Antwi, the Sunyani West Municipal Public Health Nurse, said new HIV infections were also becoming a disease burden in the municipality.

She explained that out of the 11,295 people tested in various health facilities last year, 341 of them responded positively to HIV and AIDS.

Mrs Antwi expressed concern over stigmatization and discrimination of People Living with HIV and AIDS (PLWA), which was affecting the fight against the disease.

She noted that because of the public stigma, it was making it difficult for PLWA to go for medication at health facilities.

Mrs Antwi said the Directorate had devised new strategy, and health workers were reaching out to the PLWA and providing them with the medications in their homes, but regretted that lack of transportation to reach out to everybody was affecting the exercise.

Teenage pregnancy, Mrs Antwi said was also another problem in the area, and appealed for inclusion of family planning into the National Health Insurance Scheme.

She noted that many of the girls were not patronizing the various methods of family planning services because of the cost associated with it, saying, when covered under the NHIS, the family planning acceptor rate would increase as well.

Mr Richard Kwasi Henneh, the Sunyani West Municipal Director of Health, said more ought to be done by the health workers towards disease prevention, and advised the health workers to intensify public education on environmental cleanliness and personal hygiene to control outbreak of communicable diseases.

Source: GNA

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