Home Health GHS Calls for Inter-Ministerial Collaboration Against NTDs

GHS Calls for Inter-Ministerial Collaboration Against NTDs

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Health Diseases Elimination
Participants at the 2024 town hall advocacy meeting on the Neglected Tropical Diseases elimination held in Koforidua.

The 2024 town hall advocacy meeting on elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) organised by the Ghana Health Service has been held in Koforidua in the Eastern Region with a call on the ministries to join forces.

The advocacy meeting was on the theme: ” Advocacy for equity towards NTDs management: The role of stakeholders.”

Dr Winfred K. Ofosu, Eastern Regional Health Director said the Neglected Tropical Diseases are a group of diseases that affect the poor in society globally and cause blindness, enlargement of the lymph, impaired cognitive development, among others.

He said all hands-on deck, such diseases needed to be eliminated because they contributed to an immense social and economic burden.

The three primary strategies for curbing the diseases he said, were mass drug administration in all endemic districts annually or bi-annually; morbidity management; and health education in all endemic communities.

There are 20 NTDs and notably among them are schistosomiasis, soil transmitted helminthiasis, buruli ulcer, yaws, leprosy, scabies, and Human African trypanosomiasis.

The Director said the geographical conditions such as fast flowing rivers with rocky beds and thick forest, water bodies used for vegetable farming and swimming in by children, all contributed to high prevalence of NTDs in Ghana as well as in the Eastern region.

The Ghana Health Service will continue to strengthen collaboration with agencies and stakeholders with the aim of exploring all the three strategies as adopted earlier so that together many of these NTDs could be eliminated, he said.

In a presentation, Dr. John Ekow Otoo, Deputy Director of Public Health, Eastern Region, said some key activities carried out in the Region were NTD surveillance (monthly and quarterly reporting); support to Non-Governmental Organisations helping the Region identify skin NTDs; training on contact tracing of historical cases; confirmation and treatment of leprosy cases.

He said according to statistics on leprosy, the Eastern Region identified 12 cases in 2022, and 12 new cases in 2023. 11 cases completed treatment successfully.

There wer no child case, no death, and no disability among new cases; and single dose Rifampicin was given to contacts.

He said the way forward for the Region were, it will conduct data validation after the Mass Drug Administration and ensure that NTDs cases are entered into the District Health Information Management System correctly.

Mr. Joseph Opare, Programme Manager of the Neglected Tropical Diseases Programme, Ghana Health Service outlined some challenges in fighting the diseases and they were inadequate funding for programme activities; insecurity during field activities; and competing programmes with other community-based activities.

He then urged the public to rush to the hospitals if they experience any strange symptoms in or on their bodies for early detection and treatment.

Rev. Dr. Joyce Aryee, NTD Ambassador said, “this generation has a mandate to eliminate NTDs by 2030. With our concerted and interactive engagements at this advocacy event, we will identify practical, locally led solutions towards NTD elimination goals.”

” Making efforts against NTDs will contribute to universal health coverage and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the Eastern Region, Ghana, and the World at large,” she said.

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