A book on Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) in sub-Saharan Africa has been launched to tell the story of the African Disease burden from an African perspective.
It also includes individuals who have either worked in their respective Ministries of Health and have come face to face with the realities of the ravages of NTDs and the control of the diseases in their countries.
Africa represents the most important ‘hotspot’ for NTDs, which cause profound poverty in neglected populations.
The book sets out the NTDs through the lens of sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and presents 12 of the major NTDS.
They include, Buruli ulcer, Guinea worm, Human African Trypanosomiasis (HAT), Leishmaniasis, Leprosy, Loiasis and Lymphatic Filariasis.
Others are Onchocerciasis, Podoconiosis, Schistosomiasis, Soil Transmitted Helminths, Trachoma, and Yaws.
In well-structured chapters, epidemiology and biology of these parasitic diseases are discussed in detail.
Further, diagnostics and therapeutic approaches as well as prevention strategies are reviewed.
Additionally, areas, which transcend all the NTDS and of particular relevance to NTDS, and even more so in sub-Saharan Africa such as Health systems and their role in NTDs, the social and economic impact as well as vector control, often less talked about in recent times in disease control are also discussed.
Prof Fred Binka, Vice Chancellor of the University of Health and Allied Sciences who reviewed the book noted that the publication is a complete departure from the position where we are always told about the health problems on the African from a different perspective.
He said it also discusses the challenges facing the initiative and spells out very nicely the population at risk, distribution, transmission, diagnosis and controlled measures of the 12 NTDs identified as well as issues related to the social, cultural and economic impact of the diseases continent.
Prof Agyeman Badu Akosa Chief Executive Officers of Health Ghana, who launched the book said the 12 diseases captured, are diseases of poverty and poor sanitation and entreated Ghanaians to brighten their little corners and ensure that their surrounding are clean.
Dr. Owen Kaluwa, Ghana’s Country Representative of World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that some 658.7 million people require mass drug administration for their NTDs in the African region.
This represents 40% of the global burden of NTDs even though the WHO African region accounts for less than 15% of the world’s population.
Dr Kaluwa commended the authors and editors for telling the story from Africa’s perspective.
Prof John Gyapong, a co-editor of the book said it has a lot of information on the disease concept and gives a ray of hope.
He commended his colleagues, who have made Africa proud by helping to chart the way forward in the elimination and eradication of the NTDs.
The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Prof Ernest Aryeetey who chaired the function commended the scientists for their significant contribution towards knowledge and making recommendations to eliminate these diseases.
NTDs have deleterious and direct negative consequences for public health through their long-term effects of disability, or in some cases, death especially from HAT and Leishmaniasis.`
Written by Audrey Dekalu, GNA. This story was sourced from the News Ghana website.