AN official in the Ministry of Health (MoH) has revealed that over four million people have received treatment for tropical diseases in the last three years.
Speaking during a workshop organised to integrate Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) programme into existing health initiatives, Dr. Denise Mupfasoni, the Programme Coordinator, said that the exercise had covered the entire country to determine the prevalence of the most common tropical diseases in the country.
“Some tropical diseases have been neglected because they mostly affect poor communities and are not a problem to developed countries,” she explained.
“That is why we established this initiative to address the issue. Although they are not as dangerous as HIV or malaria, they affect the population’s productivity and sometimes even claim lives,” Mupfasoni said.
She added that more than 10,000 community health workers have been trained to help in carrying out sensitization campaigns in all districts.
“We carried out a mass de-worming initiative, whereby children aged 1-16 years were de-wormed twice a year,” she said
Eugene Ruberanziza, the programme Research Coordinator, revealed that a high prevalence rate of people suffering from fatal intestinal worms was found around lake regions in Rutsiro, Gicumbi and Bugesera Districts.
“The NTD annual treatment program for the adult population from villages surrounding these lakes, was carried out in collaboration with health centres in these districts,” Ruberanziza said.
NTD Control Program is an initiative that was started in 2007 by MoH in collaboration with Access Project, a Columbia University Program with the objective to improve the health of poor communities.