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Sierra Leone News: Government to be more committed to eliminate NTD’s

A strategic plan on Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD’s) was completed on 13 July 2017. It was recommended the government needs to do more to eliminate NTD’s by 2020.
Health workers from the various affected districts, including WHO, Helen Keller and FHI 360, examined work done so far to control NTD’s in eight districts, while strategies to control the remaining six districts were planned.
World Health Organization (WHO), United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Sight Savers International, and FHI 360 are supporting neglected tropical disease in countries, and Sierra Leone being a beneficiary has four of the diseases, which include Onchocerchiasis, Lymphatic Filiriasis, Schistosomiasis, and Soil Transmitted Helminthes.
According to the NTD Advisor, USAID, Ploi Swatdisuk much has been achieved in Sierra Leone, noting that since the start of the programme to date, the figures of people who no longer need treatment has increased. She disclosed that USAID spends $100 million USD on NTD’s in 31 countries yearly; of which Sierra Leone benefit $2 million USD a year, since 2007.
Since the start of the treatment of NTD’s, USAID has treated over 900 million affected persons in the 31 countries, mostly West Africa and the good thing that has made the programme yield results are proof of principle, global expansion in operations, and acceleration to increase and maintain treatment coverage, for all NTD’s, but focus on Lymphatic Filiriasis, Onchocerchiasis and Trachoma disease.
Swatdisuk added that as the programme draws closer to its end, USAID will focus to collaborate on new areas of emphasis where much was not achieved, strengthen country ownership through capacity and financing, evaluate impact, and exit strategy.
Deputy Health and Sanitation Minister II, Zuliatu Cooper appreciated the efforts of both the health workers and partners, noting that NTD’s can be controlled through collective efforts, which was demonstrating during the past days. She said from the debriefing, it is clear that there is still more work to be done to eliminate Onchocerchiasis and Lymphatic Filiriasis, however he admonished that health teams are to work closely with local authorities, including traditional healers in order to achieve success in the remaining districts of Koinadugu, Kenema, Bombali, and Western Rural.
Programme Manager, NTD’s, Dr Yakuba Bah called on Government to be more committed to eliminate NTD’s through adequate logistical and financial support, as well as to increase surveillance on cross-border and internal migrations.
By Ade Campbell
Friday July 14, 2017.

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