On Tuesday, August 24, 2021, the government through the Ghana Health Service and other stakeholders launched a new master plan to deal with Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) in the country.
The document is to provide a guideline for undertaking programs that will lead to the control and eradication of NTDs endemic in Ghana.
The Deputy Director-general of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Anthony Adofo Ofosu in his address said Ghana is on course to eradicate all NTDs that are still endemic in Ghana including bilharzia, yaws, buruli ulcer, leprosy and rabies before the UN target date of 2030.
“In line with our findings and the WHO targets for the different NTDs in the 2030 roadmap, the current NTD masterplan for the period 2021-2025 was developed to guide the programme activities and outline specific measurable targets for 2025 for the eradication, elimination and control of all NTDs endemic in this country,” he said.
He also commended stakeholders for their work that has already engendered notable achievements including “guinea worm eradication, elimination of trachoma, interruption of transmission of lymphatic filariasis in many districts, improved case management and human African tripanosomiasis control, and awareness creation.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) has set a 2030 target for the prevention, control, elimination and eradication of 20 neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) and disease groups in NTD-endemic countries; typically low-income populations in developing regions of Africa, Asia, and the Americas.
In Ghana, one of the concerned countries, the Ghana Health Service is leading efforts to meet the targets.
David Agyemang, the Senior Program Manager for the Ghana office of SightSavers International, a lead sponsor of the document, said stakeholders are keen on raising funds locally to support the fight against Neglected Tropical Diseases in Ghana.
He said the heavy dependence on donor-funding for NTD programs is not sustainable.
“The elimination of NTDs depends heavily on donors but now, all stakeholders are looking at sustainability, and to have that sustainability we should be able to raise funds locally. The government should be able to support the programs here. We have developed what we call the investment case which is part of the master plan and this looks at how we can raise funds for NTDs activities in Ghana.
The WHO wants countries to shift from single-disease vertical programs to integrated approaches, that promote improved coordination and collaboration, and also allow for local ownership of NTD programmes by national and local governments, including communities.