The Disease Control Unit of Suhum Municipal Health Directorate in Eastern region of Ghana says it has recorded many  cases of Leprosy, Buruli ulcer, and Yaws.

Kwadwo Agyenim Boateng, Suhum Municipal Disease Control Officer explained to Starr News that  “when we talk of NTDs in Suhum this is one situation we also face on daily basis as a public health unit because we have cases of leprosy we attend to, we have cases of Yaws in some rural communities and we have isolated cases of buruli ulcer, elephantiasis and  all the other diseases we can talk about.”

He said this during the launching of Partnership for Elimination of Skin-Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs).

The Municipal Disease Control Officer believes the intervention will help create awareness about the disease and augment efforts in identifying more cases.

“I believe this project that is running for two years in our municipality will go a long way to augment our routine effort to the control of NTDs in the Suhum municipality. They are not having the right information regarding the condition. They also fear perceive how health staff are going to receive them, some for medical cost reasons and some of them looking at where they are looking at transportation and geographical access if you don’t make the effort of meeting them they will never show In our case identifying skin-NTDs requires an extra effort from the health staff or directorate.”

Global targets for 2030 and milestones are set out to prevent, control, eliminate and eradicate a diverse set of 20 diseases and disease groups of Neglected Tropical Diseases.

However, Ghana’s response to meeting this global target has not been encouraging due to financial challenges to whip up awareness, identifying and treating NTDs.

One hundred and ten (110) Buruli ulcer and 40 yaws cases have been recorded in Upper Manya Krobo District in the since 2017 to 2022. Many more persons suffering from the diseases are however lurking at prayer camps, herbal centers due to misconception that the NTDs are spiritual.

Eastern Regional Coordinator for Neglected Tropical Diseases, Christian Fiador said the Diseases are prevalent in the region but hidden in communities. He charged health workers in the region to intensify efforts to identify such cases for management.

“These four conditions which we are talking about are prevalent in the region.We looked for support and lo and behold ark foundation is here to support us .we are not seeing the cases at the early stages that we expect to see them so by the time we see them the deformities will show up and then the people are neglected ,stigma is attached and so when we  have foundation like this to help us it means we can look for the people and stop the stigma and stop the disabilities .People think Leprosy, Buruli, Ulcer yaws, and lymphatic filiriasis is a spiritual something .They think that if you get it someone is bewitching you and that kind of thing,” Christian Fiador said.

Emmanuel Kwarfo Mintah , Executive Director of Ark Development Organization explained that the partnership for Elimination of Skin-NTDs program by Ark Development Organization funded by Anesvad Foundation focuses on eliminating Buruli Ulcer, Leprosy, Yaws and Lymphatic Filiriasis in Upper Manya Krobo, Suhum, Fanteakwa North,and West Akim districts through multifaceted intervention including treatment and socio-economic support.

Some members of the community trained together with nurses and other stakeholders for the implementation of the project believe more hidden cases of the skin-NTDs in the communities will be identified.

Source: Ghana/ Ansah