Dr Emmanuel Tinkorang, the Ashanti Regional Director of Health Services, has appealed to Ghanaians to support community health workers as Ghana joins the rest of the world to mark World Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) Day.
He said community health workers and volunteers could help deliver NTD-efficient services, especially to marginalised groups, when given support and encouragement.
Speaking to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Kumasi on the importance of the NTD Day, he noted that informed communities could help prevent, control and eliminate NTDs.
Neglected Tropical Diseases are a diverse group of 20 communicable diseases prevailing in tropical conditions in 149 countries.
Populations living in poverty without adequate sanitation and in close contact with infectious vectors, domestic animals, and livestock are those worst affected.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has set January 30, every year, as World NTD Day to mobilise political will and secure commitments to eliminate these diseases in support of its Roadmap 2021-30, to eliminate at least one NTD from 100 countries by 2030, among others.
Globally, it is estimated that about 1.7 billion people continue to suffer from NTDs.
This year’s celebration is being marked on the theme: “Act Now. Act Together. Invest in Neglected Tropical Diseases.”
In Ghana and specifically Ashanti Region, diseases such as leprosy and lymphatic filariasis can be found in virtually all the 43 districts.
Others such as Onchocerciasis (river blindness), Yaws, Buruli Ulcer and Schistosomiasis are also endemic in some of the districts.
That, according to Dr. Tinkorang, required action and collaboration across sectors such as health/ mental health, education, and nutrition in line with WHO’s new roadmap on integrating approaches to combat NTDs.
He called for a comprehensive universal care for everyone affected adding that fighting NTDs required a collective responsibility, hence all hands must be on deck.