The Ghana Neglected Tropical Diseases Program (NTDP) under the Ghana Health Service (GHS), together with the NTD Ambassador Rev. Dr. Joyce Aryee, joined forces to mobilize national political and financial c
The event was chaired by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) and brought together high-level officials from key NTD-adjacent public sectors, which included the Ministries of Finance, Health, Sanitation and Water Resources, Education, Research, and Academia, as well WHO, UNICEF, and other technical and financial partners.
The MLGRD, represented by its Technical Advisor Mr. Sam Akoto-Danso, emphasized Ghana’s decentralized governance as a unique opportunity for NTD service delivery to be reflected in the Ghana’s revised health policy, which recognizes the role of Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies (MMDAs) as key actors in healthcare delivery across Ghana’s health pyramid. He further highlighted the importance of reducing the NTD burden as a development issue for Ghana and the inclusion of health-specific indicators in national development policies such as the District Assemblies Performance Assessment Tool.
Through this tool, the ministry identifies gaps in health service delivery and
Building on this commitment, the NTDP/GHS advocated the Ministry of Education to earmark funding for NTD activities within the MMDAs arrangements such as mobilization of funding for the national malaria and HIV program at the sub-national and decentralized level. The Education sector, a key collaborator and partner of the GHS/NTDP, represented by Deputy Minister of Education Honorable Rev John Ntim Fordjour, noted that the ministry is strongly driving the government’s education agenda by ensuring that no child is left behind. He further noted that because NTDs contribute to students’ low school attendance due to illness and stigmatization, committing to the integration of school deworming as one of the key components of the educational system operations in Ghana would be another major step towards the cross-sectoral policy integration of NTD programming.
The breadth of discussion from other stakeholders focused on the importance of country ownership, integration of cross-sectoral interventions, and the prioritization of innovative technical assistance as essential factors for long-term success. This was further expanded in the NTDP’s presentation, which focused on key achievements towards control and elimination objectives. Also presented were major challenges to NTD sustainability, notably the inadequate provision of morbidity management and disability prevention services as core bottlenecks to NTD programming. The NTDP called for renewed collaboration and ownership among cross-sectoral stakeholders to strengthen the operationalization of the Intra-Country Coordination Committee (ICCC). The WHO representative, Dr. Sally-Ann Ohene, urged the government to allocate adequate resources in the fight against NTDs and stressed the need for improved access to essential medicines, a well-trained and motivated workforce, and community ownership of health interventions. Collectively, the stakeholders have understood that now is the time to mobilize resources and secure political commitment at the national and community levels to end the fight against NTDs.
Call to Action
Dr. Joyce Aryee, Ghana’s NTD Ambassador, advocated for all guests and partners present to collective action as “Deputy NTD Ambassadors” to support in the fight against NTDs and highlighted that these diseases are treatable and can be eliminated with country ownership and political commitment.