Tanzania records achievements in addressing NTDs

TANZANIA : TANZANIA has largely reduced Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), including lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis, schistosomiasis, soil-transmitted helminths, trachoma, elephantiasis and hydrocele.

The government stated this in Dar es Salaam during the 14th Global Forum on Neglected Tropical Diseases.

The Non-government Organisations Network (NNN) in collaboration with CBM International contribute to the global control, elimination and management of consequences of NTDs.

Deputy Minister for Water Ms Maryprisca Mahundi officiated the forum, saying her docket and the Ministry of Health were working together to fight against tropical diseases.

“Out of 119 districts that were facing elephantiasis and hydrocele, 112 have managed to defeat the diseases, and the government is still working hard to ensure the remaining districts also become free from such diseases,” said Ms Mahundi.

She added that among 68 districts that had large number of trachoma patients, 60 districts of them have also defeated it and the remaining ones due to lifestyle are still working hard to eliminate the disease.

Ms Mahundi said most of the diseases are related to unavailability of clean and safe water and also dirty environment for the wellbeing of the people in those places and that is why the government has put a lot of efforts to improve the sector.

She added that the government makes sure that people in rural and urban areas access clean and safe water to meet 2030 target of eradicating the NTDs.

Nesia Mahenge, the Country Director of CBM International, said 400 delegates from 53 countries met in Tanzania to discuss the NTDs and ways to reach the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s global goal of eliminating NTDs in the world.

The NNN Chairperson Ms Girija Sankar said there were great achievements that Tanzania has made in the fight against the NTDs.

Ms Sankar said it is a great opportunity for us to learn what Tanzania has done about NTDs and share their challenges and successes with other countries in the African region.

Speaking about the late Dr Mwele Malecela, who was Director of WHO Department of Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases, her father Mr John Malecela said he was honoured to take part in the opening session of the forum and see the contribution of his late daughter who stood firm in fighting against NTDs.

“Tanzanians will profit from the mentorship programme on the NTDs, because every year 10 female doctors are taken in implementation of the programme and learn how to deal with the NTDs,” he said.

The Mwele Malecela Mentorship Programme (MMM) is part of wider efforts to drive progress towards the goals of the Neglected Tropical Diseases Global Roadmap 2021–2030 that seeks at least 100 countries to eliminate one neglected tropical disease.

Using an innovative gender-intentional approach, the MMM programme aims to increase the overall coverage, effectiveness and impact of NTD interventions by ensuring the programme supports women to overcome gender barriers in access to leadership while also acquiring skills and resources that enable them to be influential leaders and agents of change.

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