Senior Research fellow at The West African Centre for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens (WACCBIP), Dr. Peter Quarshie, has revealed that the funding of COVID-19 has been indirectly beneficial to the eradication programme of neglected tropical diseases in Ghana.
According to Dr. Quarshie, the funding for the management of coronavirus was an avenue of fund generation for the eradication of neglected tropical diseases in Ghana.
He further stated that with more support in funding, it will be easier to sustain the eradication programme and prevent the resurgence of these diseases in Ghana.
“When COVID happened there was a diversion of attention and funding for Coronavirus disease. Considering that [Coronavirus] in itself, before this pandemic, was a bit of a neglected disease, indirectly also increased funding for other diseases. But, the most important thing for us is to improve and expand surveillance activity. Now that the peak of it is almost over, funding is trying to be a little bit broad so that we can tackle other [neglected tropical diseases]. There’s a bit more funding and there’s a bit of focus on making sure that every potential tropical disease, everything that can potentially become an epidemic is looked at.”
30th January was designated by the World Health Assembly as the World Neglected Tropical Diseases day to create awareness on the devastating impact of tropical diseases such as Schistosomiasis and Dracunculiasis (guinea worm disease) on vulnerable people around the world, which includes some African, Asian and South American populations.
The World Neglected Diseases is also a day to call for support to address the presence of the neglected tropical diseases, control and eradicate them.
With the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic, the landscape of global health funding was directed towards managing the pandemic and questions were raised along the line on how this would affect the management of neglected tropical diseases.
The World Health Organization, however, managed to handle the tropical diseases during the pandemic period, certifying 47 countries free of some neglected tropical diseases, including Ghana that was recently certified free of Trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness) transmission.
Story by: Deborah Yakohene | univers.ug.edu.gh