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Neglected Tropical Diseases Causing Havoc In Ghana   
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About 12 million people living in 98 districts in Ghana stand the risk of contracting lymphatic filariasis (elephantiasis).

Four million others, from 63 districts are also at risk of being infected with onchocerciasis (river blindness), according to the Ministry of Health.

Also, an astonishing population of 3 million people in the Northern and Upper West Region could attract the trachoma disease.

These frightening issues have compelled the Ministry of Health with support from partners to launch a five-year strategic Mass Administration Tropical Diseases Master Plan to battle the 17 Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), which kills over 1.4 million people worldwide.

The NTDs such as Buruli ulcer, Yaws, Leprosy, Human Africa trypanosomiasis, leishmaniasis and guinea worm which infect people mostly in rural areas and settings, according to the Health Ministry are prevalent in 9 out of the 10 Regions in Ghana.

The outgoing Minister of Health, Sherry Ayittey, launching the five year master plan and global One-Billionth treatment celebration in Accra recently, noted that the NTDs impact on the country was greater than TB and malaria.

She said the five most common NTDs such as helminthiasis, lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis, schistosomiasis (blood urine) and trachoma are soil transmitted diseases.

She added that for the sake of control and elimination, the World Health Organisation and AFRO have supported all endemic countries with the Africa Region to develop the five year strategic plan to relegate NTDs.

According to the minister, the ministry and the Ghana Health Service were sole responsibility entities for policy formulation and strategic direction with the NTDs programme management.

“Government of Ghana in her commitment to fight against the neglected tropical diseases has made a lot of financial contribution towards the implementation activities of the endemic NTDs in Ghana,” Ayittey noted.

She also commended health service workers for their immense contribution towards NTDs eradication. The NTDs Programme Manager, Dr. Nana Kwakwo Biritwum said cases like trachoma are at the verge of elimination.
Source: allafrica.com

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