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Ghana News

NTDs in Suhum Municipality: The Alarming Rise of Leprosy, Buruli Ulcer, and Yaws Cases

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The Suhum Municipal Health Directorate in the Eastern region of Ghana has raised an alarm over the increasing prevalence of skin-neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) in the area. According to Kwadwo Agyenim Boateng, the Municipal Disease Control Officer, the region is recording many cases of Leprosy, Buruli ulcer, Yaws, elephantiasis, and other NTDs on a daily basis. This situation has become a major public health challenge for the unit.

For the most part, Ghana’s response to meeting the global target of eliminating NTDs by 2030 has been hindered by financial constraints, which has made it difficult to raise awareness and identify and treat NTDs. This has resulted in many cases of NTDs going untreated, with many persons suffering from these diseases hiding in prayer camps and herbal centers due to misconceptions that they are spiritual.

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In the Upper Manya Krobo District alone, 110 Buruli ulcer cases and 40 yaws cases have been recorded since 2017. Sadly, many more cases are still lurking in communities. Christian Fiador, the Eastern Regional Coordinator for Neglected Tropical Diseases, revealed that the diseases are prevalent in the region but are hidden in communities. He called on health workers to intensify efforts to identify such cases for management.

To tackle this menace, the Ark Development Organization, funded by the Anesvad Foundation, has launched a Partnership for Elimination of Skin-Neglected Tropical Diseases program. The program focuses on eliminating Buruli ulcer, Leprosy, Yaws, and Lymphatic Filariasis in Upper Manya Krobo, Suhum, Fanteakwa North, and West Akim districts through multifaceted intervention, including treatment and socio-economic support.

Emmanuel Kwarfo Mintah, Executive Director of Ark Development Organization, explained that the program aims to identify hidden cases of skin-NTDs in the communities and provide adequate treatment and support to those affected. He added that members of the community have been trained alongside nurses and other stakeholders to ensure the successful implementation of the project.

In conclusion, skin-neglected tropical diseases remain a hidden menace in Ghana, with many cases going untreated due to misconceptions and financial constraints. It is, therefore, essential for government, NGOs, and health workers to collaborate in raising awareness, identifying, and treating NTDs to achieve the global target of eliminating NTDs by 2030.

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