Uganda received a token of recognition from The Carter Centre for her contribution towards the reduction of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs).
The token of recognition comes ahead of the launch of nationwide Trachoma surgery campaign to accelerate efforts towards the elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases in Uganda. This campaign will be spearheaded by the Minister of Health, Hon. Jane Ruth Aceng to highlight her dedication and contribution towards the fight.
During the awarding ceremony, Vice President of The Carter Center, Dr. Dean Siènko hailed Uganda for the tremendous strides made towards elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases.
While receiving the award, Minster of Health, Hon. Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng said that Trachoma is one of the NTDs targeted for elimination by 2020. “Trachoma is the leading cause of preventable blindness in Uganda and it affects people living in rural areas with limited access to water and good sanitation and has been prioritized for elimination in Uganda” she said.
Dr. Aceng appealed to all district leaders, community members and all key stakeholders to join the fight against trachoma. “I urge all of you to actively participate in sensitization and mobilization of community members to accept trachoma surgeries and other health programs in their districts” she stressed.
Trachoma is a public health problem in 36 districts in Uganda mainly affecting women and children under 10 years. The affected regions include; Karamoja, Busoga, Lango, Acholi, Bunyoro and West Nile. Karamoja is the most affected region in Uganda. In these areas it mainly affects women and children under 10 years of age, because of the close association between mothers and young children.
The recent survey on Neglected Tropical Diseases survey indicates that majority of the population in Uganda is not aware of the magnitude of the effects of NTDs.
The Ministry of Health is implementing the Health Sector Development Plan (2015/16 – 2019/20) and Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) Master plan, which stipulates implementation of the SAFE strategy, used for elimination of trachoma from areas where it is persists as a public health problem.
The SAFE strategy encompasses Surgeries for individuals with blinding trachoma, mass treatment using Antibiotics, Facial cleanliness and Environmental sanitation.
The Ministry of Health together with development partners has been implementing the SAFE strategy since 2007 and tangible success has been realized in most of the affected regions. Out of the previously 36 Trachoma endemic districts that had active trachoma prevalence of 10% and above, 26 districts now have a prevalence of less than 5% and mass treatment is no longer required. Seventeen districts of Busoga and Karomoja regions have been undergoing trachoma surgeries out of which only Amudat and Kaabong still require surgery campaigns. All districts in Busoga districts reached their target.