£7m to fight neglected diseases
The Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) Programme Unit of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) is putting in measures to ensure a reduction and possible eradication of Neglected Tropical Diseases in the country to another pedestal with the launch of the ‘NTD Countdown Project’.
The project, ‘Calling Time On The NTDs’, is a £7 million DIFD funded multi-country project that would employ five research themes, including consolidating evidence, social science approaches, health economics, integrity complementary strategies, among others, to reducing morbidity, mortality and poverty associated with NTDs.
The five-year project, expected to end in 2020, will also work to increase knowledge and evidence to support cost-effective scale-up and sustainable control and elimination of the NTDs as a public health problem in line with the WHO 2020 NTD roadmap.
It, thus, has the ultimate aim of addressing challenges that confront the implementation of programmes on ending Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) in Ghana.
Dr Nana Kwadwo Biritwum, programmes manager for NTDs, said the project which is made up of different research activities would identify and implement new ways to reduce the suffering of persons living with NTDs.
“It is expected to improve planning, coordination and delivery of integrated NTDs programmes as well as sustain access to NTD medications in hard-to-reach communities,” he said.
Dr Biritwum mentioned that NTDs are prevalent in less-endowed and urban slums in Accra, adding that communities such as Teshie and Nungua are highly endemic.
He was, however, positive that the countdown would mobilise experienced researchers to study NTD programmes implementation in Ghana and initiate measures to implement the research findings under the project.
“The project would also scale-up the treatment of the five NTDs addressed in Ghana and challenges such as persistent non-compliance where men especially refuse to participate in the drug administration process and remain a reservoir for the transmission of diseases,” he added.
Minister of Health Alex Segbefia, who launched the project, observed that less attention is given to the treatment of NTDs and, therefore, entreated stakeholders to get involved in ending NTDs.
Ghana is affected with 10 out of the 17 NTDs and have so far rolled out control measures to address five out of the 10 NTDs which include, lymphatic filariasis commonly called elephantiasis, schictosomiasis known as bilharzias, onchocerciasis, intestinal worn and trachoma.