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Kenya forms health team to help curb neglected tropical diseases

04 August 2016, 15:04

Nairobi - Kenya's health ministry has formed a team to help rejuvenate the fight against neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).

Head of the NTD Unit, Sultani Matendechero said in a statement on Wednesday that the team has embarked on a nationwide campaign to lay the ground for the elimination of the diseases in the country.

"We will go in and talk to counties and discuss what they need to do to address NTDs. This will also determine how we can fund their activities," he said.

Matendechero revealed that about 25 million U.S. dollars is required to control and eradicate NTDs in Kenya.

The team is expected to visit 290 sub-counties in the next three weeks to scale up interventions and build systems that are required to boost capacity at the national and county levels.

The East Africa nation has adopted the UN World Health Organization (WHO) resolutions that commit endemic countries to scale up interventions against major NTDs.

Statistics from WHO indicates that one billion people are affected by neglected tropical diseases in 49 high burden countries, majority of whom are in Sub-Saharan Africa.

According to Matendechero, the team will visit all the 47 counties and set up coordination centres to inform the financing, treatment and service delivery capacities.

He added that the programme has set targets to eliminate diseases such as elephantiasis and blinding trachoma by 2020.

Kenya has already wiped out Guinea worm disease with the last case being recorded in 1994 and is awaiting certification by the World Health Organization next month ahead of Ethiopia, South Sudan, Mali and Chad which are still reporting cases.

"We renewed efforts to have the certification and we expect to get it in September. This is indeed a great milestone for us," said Matendechero.

Notwithstanding there are 15 other NTDs that are suspected or confirmed to be endemic to Kenya. These include intestinal worms, Elephantiasis, Bilharzia, Trachoma, Kala-azar, Dengue and Chikungunya, Rabies, Guinea Worm Disease, Leprosy, Hydatid disease, Tapeworms, Liver flukes, River blindness, Sleeping sickness and Mycetoma.

This year Kenya launched a National Strategic Plan for the Control of NTDs which provides a road map for controlling the diseases. 

- Xinhua


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