The District Health Management Team (DHMT) in Kenema THE Helen Keller International has held a press conference at the Holy Trinity Parish hall in Kenema city on raising awareness on the dangers of Neglected Tropical Disease Control Programme (NTD).
Addressing the press the Program Manager for Neglected Tropical Disease Control Program (NTD) for Helen Keller International Mustapha Sonnie said the purpose of the meeting is to tell the press about what is happening in Kenema district. He also stated that the Helen Keller International and the Ministry of Health and Sanitation are implementing the control of NTD which includes schistosomiasis and soil transmitted helminthiasis in Kenema district. It is also aimed at raising awareness on the dangers posed by schistosomiasis or masonries on school children in the district.
Mr. Sonnie said the entire process is being funded by the United States Agency International Development (USAID) from the American people, and that their recent survey conducted in some parts of the country has indicated that six out of the thirteen districts in Sierra Leone including Freetown are endemic with the schistosomiasis adding that some districts are high and others are low.
He said the six districts include Kenema, Bo, Tonkolili, Kono, Kailahun and Koinadugu. In some district the prevalence is very high for instance Kono is over 50%, which shows that over 50% primary school children were affected with the disease.
Sonnie added that they are administering Praziquantel and Mebendazole 500mg to children from five years and above, and that they advised all not to give the drugs to pregnant women and a very sick person. He said food was provided for any child that is to take the drug throughout the district. He described schistosomiasis as the second most common Tropical Disease in Africa after malaria.
In his contribution Mohamed Koroma member of the District Health Management Team responsible person for NTD appealed for community participation in order to make the program a success.
Other contributors were Peter Bai James, Pharmacy Board of Sierra Leone drug safety Pharmaco Vigilance department and Brima J. Dassama District Social Mobilization coordinator Kenema.