Awareness underway on neglected tropical diseases in ENB


A TEAM from the World Health Organisation (WHO) is in East New Britain to roll out awareness on neglected tropical diseases (NTD).
The awareness is and supported by WHO, Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) and the East New Britain Provincial Health Authority (ENBPHA).
WHO NTD technical officer Merelesita Rainima told The National that Papua New Guinea had the highest number of tropical diseases but had been overlooked by relevant health authorities.
Rainima said their assistance would eliminate the rise and spread of these diseases in the country.
Some NTDs are: Buruli ulcer, Chagas disease, cysticercosis, dengue fever, dracunculiasis (guinea worm disease), echinococcosis, fascioliasis and human African trypanosomiasis (African sleeping sickness).
“We’ve completed the first roll out of this awareness in New Ireland,” she said.
“Now we are here in East New Britain. Neglected tropical diseases have been ignored and as a result we have high increases of them in PNG.”
Rainima said while they did not have adequate manpower and funding to roll out the programme they would maintain their commitment with WHO and Jica to continue with the awareness on NTDs nationwide.
She said since the start of the awareness in the province in April, they had struggled with the awareness owing mainly to confusion among the people between NTDs and the Coronavirus.
She said commitment shown by volunteers and support from local businesses to help roll out the awareness had made it possible for them to keep moving.
“We want to eliminate NTDs in PNG, specifically areas that have the high potential to have the highest number of NTD.
“Prevention is what we mostly talking about because we can only control the movement of people instead of animals.
“PNG is one of the most challenging countries to even start the programme and to roll it out quickly within a few years is really a success.”