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15.02.2005 General News

1,157 buruli ulcer cases recorded in 2004

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Agogo (Ash), Feb 15, GNA - A total of 1,157 new buruli ulcer cases were recorded from 31 districts in seven regions of the country last year.

About 53.2 per cent of the affected persons were children below 15 years from remote and poor areas where access to health facilities are limited.

Dr Edwin Ampadu, National Buruli Ulcer Control Programme Manager, made this known at a training workshop for doctors, nurses and other medical officials from some buruli ulcer endemic istricts on Monday. The districts are Suhun-Kraboa-Coaltar, Sunyani and the Asante-Akim North.

The five-day workshop was to build the capacities and confidence of the participants in the management of the disease, develop team work attitude in the management of the disease, find ways to reduce the infection among children and strengthen local facilities to meet the challenges posed by the disease.

Dr Ampadu said the inability of victims to identify and report the disease for early treatment made its management very difficult. He said the main focus of the programme for this year would be to step up education among the people in the endemic communities to report the disease very early for treatment.

Dr Ampadu said the buruli ulcer programme would also push for the implementation of the exemption policy to cover buruli ulcer patients. It would also strengthen health facilities at the endemic communities in terms of equipment and infrastructure and mobilise support for research work on the disease.

He said health officials in the endemic areas faced a big challenge and urged them to intensify their education campaign to enable the affected people report early for treatment.

Dr Divine Apaloo, Medical Officer in-charge of the Suhum Government Hospital, said poverty had been identified as the cause of the late reporting of the disease at health facilities. He appealed to the government to expedite action on the implementation of the exemption policy to cover buruli ulcer patients.

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