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01.12.2005 Health

Buruli Ulcer Prevention and Treatment Project Launched

By GNA
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Accra, Nov.30, GNA - The high incidence of buruli ulcer cases in the Ga West District has prompted the World Vision, a Non-Governmental Organization on Wednesday to launch the Prevention and Treatment Project at Amasaman in District aimed at the early detection and treatment of the disease.

Mr Sam Asare, National Director of World Vision said research conducted in 10 districts in Ghana in 1999 revealed that the Ga West District recorded 500 out of 1000 cases, amounting to the highest prevalence rate of 87.7 per cent.

Mr Asare said, with a population of 653,000 people, the Ga West district largely depended on hand-dug wells, rivers, streams, and ponds for their water supply which were manly unhygienic thereby contributing to the cause of the disease.

He said problems associated with the disease included withdrawal of affected children from schools, with parents spending a lot of money for remedy, saying sufferers are not able to engage in any brisk economic activities and the debilitating Ulcers left on victims creates social problems of stigmatisation and isolation.

He said, World Vision was undertaking the project in collaboration with the District Directorate of the Ghana Health Service, the National Buruli Control programme Unit, and the plastic Surgery Unit of the Korle-Bu Teaching hospital to raise public awareness of the disease and make available preventive and treatment measures. Mr. Asare explained that the project would strengthen the community surveillance system to increase early detection, referrals of treatment and strengthen the capacity of community health workers to manage the situation and follow-up sufferers.

He said, since its inception in July this year, the Ga West Area Development Programmes (ADPs) had trained 108 Community Based Surveillance Volunteers (CBSV), also, the capacity of 60 Teachers and 35 Health Workers had been built towards early detection of the disease within the community.

In addition, 29 herbalists had been sensitised and encouraged to facilitate the sending of patients to hospitals early. He observed that 155 Buruli Ulcer cases had so far been registered. The District Chief Executive of the Ga West, Mr. Eric Quartey Papafio, said in signing the Memorandum of Understanding with the District Assembly, World Vision had shown its commitment in dealing with the developmental problems of the district.

The World Vision had developed a project document to serve as a framework on which related activities would be carried out. Mr. Quartey expressed gratitude to the donor communities especially the Australian Government working through World Vision in supporting the District to improve the health and general well being of the people. He urged the community to co-operate with the organization to achieve its targets.

The Australian High Commissioner to Ghana, Mr Jon Richardson who launched the project noted that the Buruli Ulcer Prevention and Treatment in the area was the newest project being funded by AusAID, which was contributing about $200,000 over three years. He said the disease was identified in Australia in 1948 with about 10 to 20 cases reported each year, adding that early diagnosis and treatment had however provided a good chance of complete cure. He debunked the idea that the disease had a spiritual cause and advised relatives of victims of the disease to patronize the various interventions to be implemented.

The Queen Mother of the Amasaman, Naa Dede Oble II, who chaired the function, observed that females were the mostly infected within the district; She said the fact that the disease was identified in Australia also showed that the disease was no respecter of skin or colour and that everyone was at risk.

She therefore, called on the Government and all stakeholders to contribute their quota in curbing the dreadful disease. 30 Nov. 05

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