Ensuring adequate care for neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) in endemic communities is often complicated by the variety of treatments and capacity needed to address a single disease. To properly treat lymphatic filariasis (LF), for example, health care providers must not only administer medications, but treat painful acute attacks and address different swelling side effects, lymphedema and hydrocele.
Morbidity management and disability prevention (MMDP)—properly addressing symptoms in order to prevent disease progression—involves each of these types of care, and is key to keeping LF patients healthy. That is why American Leprosy Missions (ALM), as part of Act to End NTDs | West activities, is working with Ghana’s NTD Program to improve MMDP across the country.
Since 2016, Ghana’s NTD Program has been training health workers from nearly 1,500 health facilities in MMDP methods for LF. This summer, ALM and the NTD program measured the outcomes of this training with a direct inspection protocol (DIP) activity: a survey of 156 health facilities to determine their capacity to provide MMDP for people affected by LF.
From the survey results, we’re learning about the current status of LF MMDP care across Ghana, and what different areas need to continue improving quality of care.
The survey provided a wealth of information on the knowledge of facility staff, the availability of medications, and other factors that affect a facility’s ability to provide the best care to its community. The data also showed areas for improvement, including that patients need more education on how to manage their self-care independently.
ALM is proud to be part of Ghana’s work to improve MMDP for people affected by LF, and we’re looking forward to how this assessment will inform future Act to End NTDs | West activities and Ghana’s strategic plan to combat NTDs.