Health authorities in the Sekyere East District of the Ashanti Region say they are overwhelmed by high incidents of scabies in senior high and basic schools in the district.

The contagious Scabies disease has infected over 1,800 students in seven senior high and basic schools.

District Health Director, Justice Ofori-Amoah has appealed for stakeholders support as the directorate struggle to contain the spread of the NTD  in schools as he blames public apathy over the spread of the diseases.

“For some of our Senior High Schools, it’s very high there. We had about four senior high schools and seven lower primary schools in Effiduase so the number is quite huge,” he revealed.

“The nature of the disease is so contagious such that as you fight it from this side, it begins to come from the other side,” he said.

Mr Ofori-Amoah wants all hands on deck to contain the situation as health directorate increase surveillance and public education.

“We need to attack the disease holistically involving all stakeholders bringing onboard Zoomlion, Ghana Education Service (GES), Ghana Water Company Limited because it is a water-related disease,” he said.

Neglected Tropical Disease cases are on ascendancy with at least,  eight categories of them being identified.

Leprosy, Yaws, Buruli Ulcer, lymphatic filariasis, also known as elephantiasis and scabies are among eight categories of Neglected Tropical Diseases on the ascendancy in the district.  

Though the diseases have been generally wiped out in developed countries, it persists in poor and marginalised communities.

Health officials in Sekyere East district say almost every community has recorded a case of NTD.

Endemic communities share common deprivation – non-availability of potable drinking water, hard to access health personnel, spirituality, among others.

Communities mostly affected include Ntukumso, Motokrodua, Seniegya, Nkwankwanua and Okaikrom.

Gideon Asare Mantey, the Sekyere East District Health Surveillance Officer, said, “Every single community can boast of one Neglected Tropical Disease or the other. Ntunkumso, Ntukumso, Motokrodua, Seniegya are the communities that have five or more.”

“What we seek to do is strengthen our surveillance team, we do a lot of social mobilisation, health education in various communities just to make sure these people get a good knowledge of the conditions and report them immediately they see them.”

But despite improved surveillance at the health directorate, public apathy leading to late reporting of cases is making containment difficult.

District Health Director, Justice Ofori-Amoah is worried.

“Most of them (public) think that it is a disease which doesn’t have a cure at the hospital. They think somebody has cursed you like you went to steal something as a schoolboy and you have been cursed and that’s why you are scratching your body.”

“That perception we hold as a community must be cleared off,” he said.