Wash Groups to tackle neglected skin diseases in schools

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Skin Diseases
Skin Diseases

Water in Africa Through Everyday Responsiveness (WATER), a non-governmental organisation, is forming Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene groups in schools within skin-neglected tropical diseases endemic areas in the Akuapem North and South municipalities to empower the students to help tackle these diseases. 

The NGO is doing this in collaboration with the assemblies as part of a project to eliminate these skin-neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) with support from ANESVAD, a Spanish non -governmental organisation.

It also plans to give 140 hand washing stations and ceramic water filters to schools and health institutions in areas with salty boreholes or where they got their drinking water from streams.

Mr Minta Aboagye, the Executive Director of WATER, informed the Akuapem South Municipal Assembly at a steering committee meeting that the project proposed to provide one mechanised borehole in a very endemic community.

However, after further assessment, it had resolved to provide two to meet the needs of the people.

It would also repair over 15 broken boreholes and reconstitute and train water and sanitation committees in 20 communities to effectively perform their duties to improve  water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) conditions.
Akuapem North and South are among districts in the Eastern Region with communities endemic in skin-NTDS such as Buruli ulcer, leprosy, and yaws.

According to statistics, 35 communities in Akuapem North recorded worrying numbers of leprosy, yaws, and Buruli ulcers between 2018 and 2022.

Earlier, Madam Emily Amponsah, the Akuapem South Director of Health, said low level of awareness, poor sanitation and hygiene, and inadequate access to safe and potable water were the main factors causing the infections.

She expressed optimism that once the initiative gained traction, it would assist the directorate to embark on a strong education and sensitisation, case search, treatment, and disability management campaign to substantially reduce infections.

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