Ghana: Accelerating neglected tropical disease control in a setting of economic development

Hotez, Peter J.; Biritwum, Nana-Kwadwo; Fenwick, Alan; Molyneux, David H.; Sachs, Jeffrey D.

Ghana is exhibiting impressive economic gains that may compare with the growth rates expected in India or China. With economic development, there is an expectation that the prevalence and disease burden of the neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) and other poverty-related neglected diseases will decline. Indeed, guinea worm, human African trypanosomiasis, and trachoma recently have been eliminated in Ghana, and there have been steep declines in the prevalence of onchocerciasis and lymphatic filariasis (as well as oesophogostomiasis and yaws), with the prospect of eliminating these diseases as well in the not-too-distant future. In contrast, progress toward disease prevalence reductions for schistosomiasis, hookworm, and other soil-transmitted helminth infections, as well as other NTDs, including cysticercosis, cystic echinococcosis, scabies, Buruli ulcer, and leprosy, have been more modest. Snake bite envenoming, an important regional noninfectious NTD, also requires a different strategic approach. Arbovirus infections are emerging and thus remain a significant and under-recognized public health threat. For some of these NTDs, new technologies, including vaccines, will be required. Health-system strengthening with mobile health-activities are expected to continue furthering NTD disease reductions, with the hope that Ghana could become the first highly populated Sub-Saharan African nation to achieve its NTD elimination targets.

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PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases

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Academic Units
Center for Sustainable Development
Published Here
February 15, 2019