Program Coordinators Assures Data on NTDS is Credible & in Line with WHO Recommendation

Photo: Helen Keller’s Neglected Tropical Diseases Program Coordinator, Victoria Turay responding to questions from Radio Democracy anchor Journalist Mabel Kabba© Alpha Sesay/Helen Keller Sierra Leone

Sierra Leoneans have been assured by the Helen Keller INTL Neglected Tropical Diseases Program Coordinator, Victoria Turay, that the data the Ministry of Health & Sanitation and her organization uses to inform their interventions on NTDs is credible and in line with the recommendations of the world’s health governing body – WHO.

“We conduct interventions such as annual mass drug treatment with medicines that treat the targeted NTDs and stop transmission of the parasite plus surveys to assess the impact of the treatment,” she revealed.

However, she maintained that her organization’s role is purely to provide technical and financial support to the National Neglected Tropical Diseases Program (NNTDP) in the Ministry of Health and Sanitation who lead the work.

She gave that assurance on the popular Good Morning Salone program on Radio Democracy 98.1 on 26th January,2023. The radio program is part of Helen Keller and the Ministry’s media campaign as part of activities to commemorate World Neglected Tropical Diseases Day in Sierra Leone on January 30, 2023.

“These interventions are yielding successes,” she said adding that, “15 out of 16 districts which account for about 95% of the country’s population no longer require treatment for elephantiasis or big fut because of these interventions.”

Despite the show of appreciation for the successes in the fight to eliminate NTDs in Sierra Leone, 80% of the questions from the listeners who participated via text message and Facebook live during the feedback session of the program, were anchored on data collection, management and control on the NTD program in Sierra Leone.

“Sierra Leone NNTDP does not share this success alone,” she stated going on to praise the United States Agency for International Development (USAID’s), Act to End NTDs West program for their support over the years and the partnership with the Ministry of Health and Sanitation and collaboration with traditional healers, religious leaders, community drug distributors, community health workers and civil society organizations to support and sustain community engagement, dispel rumors around MDAs and build trust in NTD services.

This year’s world Neglected Tropical Diseases Day, the third to be held since the 2012 London Declaration on NTDs is organized under the theme, “Act Now. Act Together. Invest in NTD”.

Sierra Leone’s National Neglected Tropical Diseases program and Helen Keller have scheduled a week-long activity to commemorate this year’s event including a walk in Makeni to raise awareness about NTDs in the district headquarters town of Bombali the only bigful endemic district in Sierra Leone.

This year’s celebration will be climaxed with a panel discussion on the theme: “Road to the Elimination of NTDs in Sierra Leone: Prospect, Challenges and the Way Forward” will be held on Monday 30 January 2023 at the Africell America Corner in Freetown.



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