Dr Benjamin Marfo, the Programmes Manager for the NTDs programme, Ghana Health Service (GHS), has called on the public to help fight Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) to do away with poverty.
He said NTDs increased the cycle of poverty, and needed to be controlled to enhance the financial ability of people and the economy at large.
NTDs include Elephantiasis, River Blindness, Buruli Ulcer, Leprosy, River Blindness, and Intestinal Worm Infestation.
“When a person has elephantiasis or river blindness, they are not able to work and the person cannot go to the farm if he or she is a farmer, so that might be the beginning of poverty in the person’s home. So if we start fighting this, poverty in the country will reduce,” he said.
Dr Marfo made the call on Saturday when the GHS embarked on a health walk to sensitise the public on NTDs to mark the commemoration of the “World Neglected Tropical Diseases Day”.
He disclosed that the GHS had eliminated Trachoma and Guinea Worm Diseases and was hopeful to totally eliminate other diseases that were neglected.
He advised the public to resort to environmental and health hygiene practices to reduce the incidence of such diseases.
“Elephantiasis, for instance, is caused by a bite from mosquitoes, therefore, keeping environments clean and free from mosquitoes would help to reduce the rate at which people are getting it,” he added.
Dr Dacosta Aboagye, the Director of Health Promotion, GHS, reiterated the need for the entire citizenry to keep their environments and water bodies clean to prevent the spread of such cases of NTDs.
The campaign to fight NTDs, he said, had just begun, adding that the GHS would not relent its efforts until something positive had been achieved.
The poor and people in deprived communities, he said, were mostly affected by these diseases, hence the GHS was also embarking on a house-to-house campaign in rural communities to educate them on preventive practices.
Dr Aboagye called on the public to join forces with the GHS to spread knowledge about NTDs, especially on January 30, 2020, when it would launch a campaign to fight it at ‘Mantse Agbona’ in Jamestown, Accra.