GHS creates awareness of prevalence of Neglected Tropical Diseases

The Ghana Health Service (GHS) over the weekend organised a health walk to sensitise the pub­lic to the prevalence of some Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) in the country.

The health walk, themed: ‘Act now, Act together. Invest in neglected tropical diseases’, started at the Health Promo­tional Division at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital and ended at the headquarters of the GHS near the Tema station in Accra.

According to the World Health Organisation, NTDs are a diverse group of 20 condi­tions that are widespread in the world’s poorest regions where water safety, sanitation, and access to health care are sub­standard.

The NTDs include, Buruli Ulcer, Leprosy, Chagas’ disease, Dracunculiasis, Hookworm infection, Human African Try­panosomiasis and Leishmaniasis

Others are, Lymphatic Fila­riasis, Onchocerciasis, Schisto­somiasis, Trachoma and Trich­uriasis.

The Programme Manager for NTDs, Dr Kofi Asemanyi-Men­sah, briefing the media, said the disease was called ‘Neglected’ because most people were not aware of the diseases and also individuals with those diseas­es were not given the needed attention.

This, he said, was because such diseases were paid little attention.

Dr Asemanyi-Mensah stated that the NTDs were worrisome in the sense that people with such diseases lose the capability of performing their duties.

“When someone gets ele­phantiasis, the person cannot do any work and his livelihood becomes threatened,” he said.

Therefore, he noted that they needed to create awareness to ensure that everyone in the country knew about the diseas­es, its effect and impact on their livelihoods.

“We want to act together with stakeholders, invest in NTDs so that our target of eliminating them by the year 2030 will be achieved,” he stated.

Dr Asemanyi-Mensah advised the general public and health workers to give people with NTDs the necessary attention to help them live a normal life.

Programme Manager of the National Leprosy Control Programme, Dr Benedict Okoe Quao, on his part, said the GHS was making a lot of progress against NTDs.

He said the threshold for eliminating leprosy as a public health issue had been crossed, adding “we are still working to get to zero leprosy in the country”.

Dr Quao added that due to the hard work of the GHS, Ghana had been declared free of Guinea worm and also validated as having eliminated Trachoma as a public health problem.

“If we have been able to achieve these, it means we have the capacity to do more, when we get more support from the government, stakeholders and the general public we can achieve our targets against this NTDs,” he said.


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