Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) affect all 10 regions of Ghana, with an estimated 11 million Ghanaians at risk of contracting one or more NTDs. NTDs are debilitating and disproportionately affect the poor and vulnerable. Factors impeding the control of NTDs include limited knowledge; unsafe health practices; and limited access to proper hygiene and sanitation. Roughly 86% of households in Ghana have access to an adequate water source, but only about 8% use an appropriate method to treat water prior to drinking. Only 11% have access to adequate, non-shared sanitation.

The Government of Ghana has made significant progress in controlling NTDs: The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has said that trachoma transmission has recently been halted in the country, although 7 communities continue to receive treatment. Moreover, due to reduced prevalence and 10 rounds of lymphatic filariasis (LF) treatment, MDA treatment is no longer needed in four of Ghana’s 74 LF endemic districts. Despite this progress, NTDs continue to be a threat and require continued attention.

Catholic Relief Services (CRS) is the designated sub-grantee in Ghana for END in Africa. CRS has 53 years of experience in Ghana and has built a close relationship with the GHS at the central and decentralized levels. It has a diverse health portfolio of programs in leprosy; guinea worm; water and sanitation; school health programs that include control of soil-transmitted helminthiasis; HIV/AIDS prevention and education; infant and young child feeding; and maternal, newborn and child health.

Disease Endemicity in Ghana

Disease Endemic Total Population at Risk
Lymphatic Filariasis 8 regions (74 districts) 10 regions (170 districts) ~10 million
Onchocerciasis 9 regions (40 districts, 3,200 communities) 10 regions (170 districts) ~2.1 million
Trachoma 2 regions (26 districts) 10 regions (170 districts) ~3.1 million
Soil-transmitted Helminthes 10 regions (170 districts) 10 regions (170 districts) ~6.9 million school-aged children
Schistosomiasis 10 regions (141 districts) 10 regions (170 districts) ~6.9 million school-aged children

History of mass drug administration (MDA) in Ghana

  • Integrated MDAs started in 2007
  • MDA for onchocerciasis started in 1999, with lapses in both geographic and therapeutic coverage
  • MDA for lymphatic filariasis (LF) started in 2001, with 11 rounds of completed to date
  • MDA for trachoma: 7 rounds of treatment completed; Ghana is on the verge of eliminating transmission
  • One round of nationwide MDA for soil-transmitted helminthes was done in 2007
  • The first MDA for schistosomiasis started in 2008

Our Approach

END in Africa program goal in Ghana:

To reduce the prevalence of Neglected Tropical Diseases (blinding Trachoma, Lymphatic Filariasis, Onchocerciasis, Schistosomiasis and Soil-transmitted Helminthes) to levels that are no longer of public health significance by 2015.

END in Africa’s Approach in Ghana:

  1. Mass drug administration using a community-based or school based approach. Depending on disease endemicity in each community, district or region, MDA may include:
    • Ivermectin only
    • Ivermectin/Albendazole
    • Albendazole or Mebendazole
    • Praziquantel
  2. Health education

END in Africa-supported NTD Activities in Ghana – 2012

  • Conducted one integrated round of community-based mass drug administration (MDA) for lymphatic filariasis (LF), onchocerciasis and soil-transmitted helminthes (STH) in 121 districts in January 2012.
  • Identified endemic communities needing schistosomiasis (SCH) treatment.
  • Conducted one integrated round of school and community based MDA for SCH in 120 districts and STH in 170 districts in May-June 2012.
  • Trained over 15,000 community drug distributors, teachers, supervisors, trainers and Ghana Health Service (GHS) staff in MDA-related activities.
  • Finalized 2011-2015 NTD Master Plan for Ghana in collaboration with WHO and shared with stakeholders.
  • Holding one national Post-MDA review meeting in November 2012.
  • Supporting trachomatous follicular (TF) surveillance activities in 29 districts where Trachoma transmission has been broken.
  • Carrying out night blood surveys in 15 LF districts that have completed more than 7 rounds of MDA.
  • Carrying out TAS in 8 districts with an LF prevalence of less than one percent.
  • Instituted post MDA surveillance system in 4 districts that have stopped MDA for LF, in collaboration with Disease Surveillance Unit of GHS.
  • Strengthening monitoring and evaluation (M&E) capacity at all levels of the program.
  • Constituted an Intra-Country Coordinating Committee (ICCC) for the NTD program and holding quarterly meetings.
  • Developed a supply chain management strategy to monitor NTD drugs and logistics, and taking steps to implement that strategy.
  • Reviewing and implementing selected activities in the Communication and Advocacy Strategic Plan.

News and Events


Better financial management on demand

Determining treatment needs at different spatial scales using geostatistical model-based risk estimates of schistosomiasis

END in Africa-supported achievements to date

  • Successful integration of all five diseases into the national NTD control program
  • National implementation of Mass Drug Administration (MDA) in all at-risk districts for all five diseases

END in Africa main activities for 2013

  • Implement national MDA for LF, Onchocerciasis, STH and SCH
  • Conduct surveillance for all diseases

Documents and Resources


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