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CSOs call for increased public funding to eliminate tropical diseases


  12 Avril      8        Santé (315),

   

Bolgatanga, April 12, GNA – About 30 Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and their partners have called for prompt increased investment and funding towards the elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) in Ghana.

According to them, the conditions are still prevalent in Northern Ghana over the years, but the needed attention and funding had not been given to the areas.

NTDs are a diverse group of conditions such as Elephantiasis, Buruli ulcer, Yaws and Leprosy among others caused by variety of pathogens and mainly prevalent among impoverished communities in tropical areas.

The organisations made the advocacy at the inauguration of CSOs platform on NTDs in Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region.

It was organised by the Development Research and Advocacy Centre (DRAC), an NGO in collaboration with the Ghana Coalition of NGOs in Health and the Ghana Health Service (GHS) with funding support from the Anesvad Foundation.

Some of the organisations include Restorative Seed Society, Northern Patriots in Research and Advocacy, Integrated Youth Needs and Welfare, Widows and Orphans Movement, Participatory Action for Rural Development Alternatives, Centre for Social Mobilisation and Sustainable Development among others.

Mr Milton Aberinga, the Programmes Director, DRAC, said an assessment conducted showed that in the Upper East Region, NTDs were prevalent in the Bongo, Nabdam and Kassena-Nankana West Districts, adding that cases of leprosy were very high in Bongo, causing serious public health concern.

He said DRAC had been working with major stakeholders, including GHS and community leaders over the years, through training to identify people with cases of NTDs and guide them to seek medical attention as part of efforts to eliminate such diseases.

He said donor support was unsustainable and government investment in the sector had been low over the years and underscored the need for increase advocacy for government to pay attention and allocate more resources to the fight against NTDs.

“We are not saying that support for NTDs has ceased completely, it’s just that it has reduced drastically, we are not getting the needed support from the public sector on it, that is why NTDs are making a strong comeback to the system,” he said.

Mr Emmanuel Konlan, the Upper East Regional Disease Control Officer, GHS, noted that most of the people affected by NTDs were vulnerable people such as rural poor women and there was the need to collectively fight the phenomenon.

He said the GHS had been working with some volunteers to identify and educate community members who had such conditions to seek healthcare at facilities, adding that although some of the drugs were free, their supply had been irregular.

Mr Thomas Adua Abambire, the Upper East Regional Vice Chairman of the Coalition of NGOs in Health, said NTDs had not only affected the health of the persons but had adversely impacted their livelihoods and called for serious attention to the problem.

He said due to misconceptions and stigmatisation, many affected persons were not reporting to health facilities for treatment and advocated that public institutions like the GHS should be empowered to intensify education at the community level about the diseases.

Mr Duncan Adogboba Alemna, the Upper East Regional Research Officer, GHS, said research had shown that leprosy was still high in the region and to achieve universal health coverage, there was the need to eliminate NTDs.

“Sometimes, we are not able to provide them the medications because some of the medications are not covered by the National Health Insurance Scheme,” he said.

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