The government has expressed its commitment to allocate enough financial and human resources in the fight against neglected diseases like trachoma, schistosomiasis, soil transmitted helminthiasis, lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis, plague, rabies, trypanosomiasis and cysticercosis.
Speaking at the opening of a one-day forum for neglected tropical diseases at the weekend, Preventive Health Services Assistant Director in the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare Dr Peter Mmbuji said the neglected tropical diseases had been increasing in the developing countries including Tanzania, hence there was a need to put in places strategies against them.
The forum, brought together health sector specialists from in and outside Tanzania, was organised by the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) in collaboration with World Health Organization (WHO), the British Council, Sightsaver and IMA World Health.
“The ministry is aware of the magnitude of the problem and we’re coming up with a lasting solution to address it,” he stressed, noting that the neglected diseases had been affecting socio-economic development in most African countries including Tanzania.
“This has been so due to the fact that the diseases are given less importance compared to other diseases in terms of allocating resources. But for Tanzania we are committed to seeing these diseases don’t spread any further,” he said.
According to Dr Mmbuji, the neglected diseases have been affecting the victims and contributing little to socio-economic development.
He further said the ministry’s strategies were to ensure that prevention and treatment services reached rural and urban dwellers.
NIMR Director General Dr Mwele Malecela said his institute would ensure it continued collaborating with stakeholders including the government.