29.03.2023 Regional News

Anesvad Foundation injects £180,000 in fight against neglected tropical diseases

Anesvad Foundation injects 180,000 in fight against neglected tropical diseases
29.03.2023 LISTEN

Anesvad Foundation is injecting £180,000 in the fight against skin Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) in three districts in Bono and Ahafo regions in the next two years under a programme called “Community integration and systems strengthening project against skin neglected tropical diseases.”

The project is being implemented by Global Media Foundation (GLOMEF), Tim Aid Africa Ghana (TAAG) and Indigenous Women Empowerment Network (IWEN).

The overall goal of the intervention is to reduce morbidity and the psychosocial impacts of skin related NTDs through an enhanced accountability and mobilization approach among the three endemic districts in the Bono and Ahafo regions of Ghana.

The project will also help to improve access and coverage of 6,000 people, especially children, women, aged, to quality, timely care services on skin related NTDs in the selected districts by end of 2024.

The three beneficiary districts are Sunyani West and Tain in the Bono Region and Asunafo North Municipality in Ahafo Region.

Devastating effects
NTDs rank among the four most devastating groups of communicable diseases as they cause severe pain and long-term disability and account for the death of more than 170,000 people each year around the world.

Effects from NTDs such as deformed legs and blindness result in social isolation.

In Ghana, NTDs are recorded in all 16 regions, with an estimated 25 million Ghanaians at risk of contracting one or more NTDs. NTDs are debilitating and disproportionately affect the poor and vulnerable.

Launching the project, the Bono Regional Director of Ghana Health Service, Dr. Kofi Amo-Kodie said while lack of awareness, unsafe health practices, and limited access to safe water and sanitation continue to present challenges, Ghana’s NTD program has made good progress, particularly against trachoma and lymphatic filariasis.

He however said lymphatic filariasis, schistosomiasis, onchocerciasis and soil transmitted helminthes continue to threaten health and wellbeing in Ghana and require continued attention and support from other partners.

The Regional Director commended the three organisations for initiating the project saying it will go a long way to increase public awareness about the disease and make the public aware about the negative economic impact of NTDs on the country in general and families in particular.

Dr. Amo-Kodie noted that NTDs limit educational opportunities for school-aged children by interfering with cognitive development and causing undesirable effects on school attendance and child development.

In his presentation, the Project Manager, Edward Ayabilah, 150 skin affected persons would be identified for treatment, and would be empowered economically through skill training in vocational skills, increasing their livelihood opportunities for a dignified living as part of the project implementation.

He further said six toilet facilities would be constructed for selected communities to improve sanitation and hygiene services which is one of the major solutions in the fight against NTDs, whilst three rehabilitation centres would be established towards the provision of appropriate integrated care and rehabilitation services for those affected by skin-NTD-associated morbidity disability and stigmatization.

The Executive Director of the Tim Africa Aid Ghana, Isaac Kwabena Kakpeibe in his address said the project will train 30 community-based Champions to lead community level advocacy and behaviour change communication to further drum home the awareness about NTDs.

He was full of praise to Anesvad Foundation for funding the project, saying: “it will help increase public awareness about the disease and advocate for the government of Ghana to allocate more resources for effective implementation of the National Master Plan on NTDs.”

Richard Kofi Boahen
Richard Kofi Boahen

Bono, Bono East and Ahafo CorrespondentPage: RichardBoahen