15 elephantiasis hotspots still remain in Ghana ahead of the 2020 deadline to eliminate Neglected Tropical Diseases.
Though the Ghana Health Service has made significant progress since 2000 when an active eradication programme started, it is still encountering some challenges with the remaining hotspots.
The Programmes Manager for Neglected Tropical Diseases at the Ghana Health Service, Dr. Benjamin Marfo told Citi News that the disease remains endemic in the country.
“We started with 98 endemic districts with elephantiasis. We have been able to break transmission in 83. So as I speak, we have 15 endemic districts for elephantiasis hotspots in the country. But it looks like we have some challenges with the hotspots. As it is now, we are trying to collaborate with all stakeholders to see how best we can respond to that,” he added.
When the mapping of elephantiasis was done in 1999, 49 districts out of the then-110 districts were noted as hotspots.
This translates to almost 100 districts currently.
Globally, there are 17 neglected tropical diseases that are prioritized by the WHO and they are common in 149 countries.
The 17 diseases are: Chagas disease, human Africa trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), and Leishmaniases caused by protozoa; Buruli ulcer, leprosy, trachoma and yaws, caused by bacteria.
The others are Cysticercosis/Taeniasis, Dracunculiasis (guinea-worm disease); Echinococcosis; Foodborne trematodiases; lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis (river blindness); schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminthiases, which are caused by helminth.
The rest are dengue, Chikungunya and Rabies which are caused by virus.
These diseases, according to the WHO affect more than 1.4 billion people.
In May 2013, the 66th World Health Assembly resolved to intensify and integrate measures against neglected tropical diseases and to plan investments to improve the health and social well-being of affected populations.
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