Researchers in Africa have assured the continent that they are committed to fight against Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) which have can affect over 1.5 billion people including Malawians.
Speaking during the 3rd General Assembly Meeting in Blantyre, African Research Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases (ARNTD) executive director John Amausi, said the body is keen to build a sustainable collaboration network for NTDs between researchers, policymakers and implementers on the African continent.
Amausi also talked about the need to promote NTD research and control in Africa through advocacy and resource mobilization.
“This is something African scientists need to do in order to expose people to make impact on neglected diseases. We are working towards a free NTDs Africa. The networking will improve the well being of indigenous people,” explained the Ghanaian doctor.
NTDs are the most common conditions affecting the poorest 500 million people living in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), and together produce a burden of disease that is equivalent to up to one-half of SSA’s malaria disease burden and more than double that caused by tuberculosis. Approximately, 85% of the NTD disease burden results from helminthic infections.
The protozoan infections, human African trypanosomiasis and visceral leishmaniasis, affect almost 100,000 people in SSA and causes high mortality.
According to recommendations on research rates of Trypanosomiasis within Tsetse fly vectors, College of Medicine’s Professor John Chisi said people living along game reserves are likely and can be affected with the disease. He said the disease poses a huge danger to lives of many people in Africa.
Speaking at the same function, principal secretary in the Ministry of Health MacPahil Magwira said shortfall in finance is triggering back the process of eradicating NTD’s. Magwira hinted that government entirely depends on development partners for both financial and technical support and this has contributed to the failure in capacity building.
“As a Ministry we have a department responsible for NTD but resources are not enough. Government entirely depends on development partners,” said Magwira.
A full assessment is a step for disease control priorities, particularly where the greatest number of NTDs occurs.