Ghana has officially been given the World Health Organisation (WHO) validation letter and a certificate, affirming that the country has eliminated trachoma as a public health problem.
By this, Ghana becomes the first country in the sub-Saharan Africa to achieve this milestone, two years before the global elimination target year of 2020.
“This is no mean feat; considering the volume of work that has been done over the years to bring us this far”, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, the Minister of Health has stated.
Mr Agyeman-Manu, who was speaking at the celebration of the national validation of trachoma elimination by the WHO in Accra, described Trachoma as devastating eye disease caused by infection with the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis.
The disease, a leading infectious cause of preventable blindness globally, spreading from person to person, particularly among preschool-aged children, and also women mainly due to their close contact.
The Health Minister acknowledged that although the journey had been very difficult, “we kept to our cherished desire to have a Ghana free of trachoma”.
Ageyman Manu attributed the successes chalked, to the strong leadership and ownership demonstrated at all levels of the health structure through the communities, with special mention of the National Trachoma Taskforce.
He further applauded the sustained efforts by the thousands of health, education and development workers to improve the lives of individuals with trachoma and their families.
The health Minister suggested that the level of collaboration and integration be emulated for the country to achieve good outcomes and results in other areas of work including Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), communicable and non-communicable diseases, as well as policies such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The WHO Country Representative, Dr Owen Laws Kaluwa who handed over the Elimination Certificate to the Minister of Health, congratulated Ghana for the achievement.