If any Ghanaian had the notion that Yaws, a long-term chronic infection that mainly affects the skin, bones, and joints of the body, was no more, then he/she would have to rescind that idea and be on the alert because the disease is in existence.
The disease has surfaced in the Ga West and South Municipalities of the Greater Accra Region and Domeabra in the Western Region as well as other parts of the country, according to the Programmes Manager of the National Yaws Control Programme of the Ghana Health Service, Dr Agana Nsiire.
Dr Nsiire adds that the disease is fast spreading because it is painless, especially among children below 15 years. He said it is insidious and eventually kills. Young adults and the middle aged are also not spared as it also affects those between the ages of 16 and 25 resulting in severe pains all over the body unlike that of the children below 15 years. However, it becomes painful among young adults when it comes into contact with secondary bacteria.
According to Dr Nsiire, the disease is caused by drinking untreated water and poor personal hygiene. It can be transmitted through contact with affected persons. He was speaking at the launch of the National Yaws Eradication Programme in Accra last week.
Dr Nsiire believed that the disease came into Ghana from a neighbouring country; hence cross-border issues were going to be looked at in order to prevent people from coming into the country with the disease. He said other measures to eradicate the disease include making available to infected persons Azythromycin drug and constant education of the populace on personal hygiene by health professionals.
He bemoaned the little resources allocated to the fighting of the disease by successive governments.
Hon Alban Bagbin, the Minister for Health, explained that countries that have successfully eliminated yaws dealt with it comprehensively and in a sustained manner. This, he said, was not possible without the necessary political will and the commitment of all partners and health professionals as well as communities to fighting the disease.