Researchers call for awareness drive on neglected tropical diseases

Scientists have called for a concerted effort in creating awareness on neglected but more affecting tropical diseases.

According to health experts, the diseases affect the world’s poorest and are more common in tropical areas, where people have little access to clean water or proper waste disposal mechanism.

Apparently, women and children who live in unsanitary environments are most affected by the Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs).

Speaking at the 8th Annual Neglected Diseases Conference at Sovereign Hotel, Kisume, the Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) Director Solomon Mpoke said the diseases have for long been neglected despite affecting many poor people.

“Neglected Tropical Diseases in Africa have come a long way and grown tremendously over the years and their control has not been that easy,” Prof Mpoke said.

Themed, ‘NTD: Sucesses, Challenges and Opportunities- from the Bench to the Field,’ the conference brought together researchers who presented papers on the prevention, treatment, control and management of diseases like rabies, bilharzia, trachoma and soil-transmitted parasitic worms like Ascaris, hookworm.

Kemri Centre for Global Health Research, Kisumu branch  Director Stephen Munga said concerted efforts of researchers would work towards elimination of the diseases.

Kisumu County Health Executive Elizabeth Ogaja called for a collaborative effort by the researchers in sensitising the public about the diseases and conditions within their areas.

“We need to be enlightened on these diseases before they become uncontrollable public health problems or outbreaks,” said Dr Ogaja.

The Standard journalist Joy Wanja and freelance journalist Mary Mwendwa were awarded for their coverage on rabies elimination and jigger infestation respectively.