The Ghana Health Services (GHS) has started its annual mass drug administration against intestinal worm infestations and bilharzia as part of efforts to reduce the burden of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), which the GHS says have become endemic in many parts of the country.
The exercise is targeting six million schoolchildren from Kinder Garten to the Junior High School (JHS) level in 205 districts across the country. According to the GHS, the nationwide deworming exercise takes place in all basic schools from November 4 to November 8, 2019, and provision has equally been made to cover children who fall within the target group but are not in school.
The GHS has identified 14 neglected tropical diseases prevalent in the country, including Elephantiasis, Lymphatic Filariasis, Yaws, and Bilharzia, Buruli ulcer, Leprosy, intestinal worms, trachoma and sleeping sickness. Director-General of the GHS, Dr Nsiah Asare says although the NTDs have a low mortality rate, they are often chronic, with permanent debilitating and disabling impact, such as blindness.