The MIHOSO International Foundation has intensified community education to stem the spread of Neglected Tropical Diseases, endemic at border communities in the Dormaa Municipality of the Bono Region.
The day’s sensitization organised by the MIHOSO forms part of a two-year project the foundation is partnering with Basic Need Ghana, another NGO, to implement to enhance the quality of life of vulnerable and affected people in the area.
Titled “Building Civil Society Coalition to Advocate an Integrated Approach to Control Skin-NTDs and Enhance the Quality of Life of Vulnerable and Affected People in Ghana,” the project sought to contribute towards prevention, control and elimination of the NTD’s infection, ameliorating the mental health and psychosocial impact of debilitating the disease and social stigma.
Accordingly, the Foundation, a human rights and social development-centered organisation, has supported the Dormaa Municipal Directorate of Health in establishing self-help groups to assist them with alternative economic livelihoods to better the lives of the affected people in the area.
The 22 self-help groups comprise mostly people affected by Yaws, Elephantiasis, Buruli Ulcer and Leprosy.
Mr Daniel Kwame Owusu-Mensah, the Dormaa Municipal Disease Control Officer, disclosed this in an interview with this reporter on the sidelines of community sensitization on the NTDs held at Babianeha and Kofi-Badukrom, a twin-border community along the Ghana-Cote D’Ivoire border lines in the Municipality.
He said Buruli ulcer was endemic, with the recording more than 60 cases in 30 endemic communities in the area since 2010, saying many of the affected people had various deformities.
Mr Owusu-Mensah explained the NTDs were common in the municipality because of the nature of work of the people who were mostly vegetable and rice farmers, farming in waterlogged areas.
He said drugs were always available, and advised the people to report suspected cases, saying affected people could be treated if cases were detected early.
Mr Owusu-Mensah expressed concern about high public stigmatization and discrimination because of some misconception about NTDs, saying it was untrue that the NTDs were linked to witchcraft or family curse.
He said the municipality had also recorded two cases of leprosy, and appealed for collective efforts among all stakeholders to bring the situation under control and added Buruli ulcer was common among children, the municipality’s situation was different with the adult population being infected.
Giving highlights about the project, Mr Thomas Benarkuu, the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of MIHOSO, in-charge of Operations told the GNA the project had already trained and empowered 22 health workers to easily identify, treat and manage NTDs in the Municipality.
He said the project was being implemented in more than 68 communities in the Municipality, saying similar training had been organised for five community volunteers to support the health workers.