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26.04.2007 Health

GHS wages war against elephantiasis, river blindness


The Western Regional branch of the Ghana Health Service is to undertake a mass drug administration for river blindness and elephantiasis in districts endemic to the diseases in the region.

Speaking at a press briefing in Sekondi, Dr. Linda Vanotoo, Deputy Regional Director of GHS said the three-day exercise would take place from April 30 to May 2 this year.

It would be support by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and in collaboration with the Ghana Education Service (GES) and District Assemblies.

Dr. Vanotoo said Mectizan and Albendazole drugs would be administered in communities in the Aowin-Suaman, Jomoro, Nzema East, Ahanta West and the Mpohor Wassa East Districts as well as the Shama-Ahanta East Metropolis where elephantiasis and river blindness are endemic.

She said only Mectizan would be administered in communities endemic to river blindness in the Juabeso, Bia, Sefwi Wiawso, Bibiani, Wassa Amenfi East and Wassa Amenfi West Districts.

Dr. Vanotoo said health personnel and volunteers drawn mainly from the GES and the district assemblies would distribute the drugs from door to door.

She said the drugs would be administered according to the height of persons, adding that vitamin A supplement would also be administered to children less than six years during the exercise.

Dr. Vanotoo said the exercise forms part of the Mass Drug Administration for Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), which includes Schistosomiasis, Trachoma, Soil Transmitted Helminths (intestinal worms), Yaws, Leprosy and Buruli Ulcer.

She said people with large scrotums would be registered during the exercise for treatment of hernia and hydrocele.

Source: GNA