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WHO Certifies Ghana Free of Sleeping Sickness

Ghana, which hasn’t recorded trypanosomiasis since 2013, submitted a dossier to WHO in 2023, subsequently reviewed by external experts.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has officially presented Ghana with a certificate of validation for the elimination of Gambiense human African trypanosomiasis (g-HAT), commonly known as sleeping sickness.

Ghana, which hasn’t recorded trypanosomiasis since 2013, submitted a dossier to WHO in 2023, subsequently reviewed by external experts.

The recommendations has led to the issuance of the validation certificate, making sleeping sickness the third neglected tropical disease (NTD) eliminated by the country, aligning with the WHO 2030 roadmap on NTDs.

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In previous years, Ghana received validation for the elimination of Guinea worm in 2015 and trachoma in 2018.

The certificate was presented by Dr. Sharmila Lareef, a multicountry Assignment Team member, on behalf of WHO Country Representative, Dr. Francis Kasolo, during the commemoration of World NTD Day in Adeiso, Upper West Akyem District, Eastern Region, themed “Unite. Act. Eliminate.”

Dr. Patrick Kumah Aboagye, Director General of Ghana Health Service, emphasized Ghana’s current endemic status for 14 out of the 20 NTDs globally, affecting 184 districts in the country.

The event brought to attention the high prevalence of NTDs in the Upper West Akyem district, where 118 cases of yaws, 5 cases of leprosy, 7 cases of lymphatic filariasis, and 5 cases of Buruli ulcer were treated from 2022 to 2023.

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Eugene Sackey, District Chief Executive, highlighted efforts by the district health directorate to address the NTD prevalence, as the new global NTD roadmap (2021-2030) emphasizes the goal of eliminating at least one NTD in 100 countries by 2030, with others reducing interventions required by 90 percent.

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