A survey to determine the prevalence of trachoma, scabies, Guinea worm disease, and other selected neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) in northern Namibia has begun.

The Kavango East and West and the Zambezi regions carry the highest burden of these diseases.

Namibia has identified eight NTDs, namely schistosomiasis, leprosy, rabies, trachoma, scabies, snakebite, and soil-transmitted helminths.

However, schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminths or worm-like parasites seem to be most prevalent, with a prevalence rate of 9%, with Kavango East and West being the highest at 18%, followed by the Zambezi Region at 16%.

Globally, the World Health Organisation has reported substantial progress in the fight against NTDs, with 46 countries having eliminated at least one.

Between 2015 and 2019, more than one billion people were treated for one or more NTDs.

In the period 2010–2020, the number of people requiring an NTD intervention was reduced by 600 million.

Despite these milestones in many countries, more than 1.7 billion people still required treatment and care for NTDs in 2020.

It is found that NTDs are more rampant in poor socio-economic backgrounds, communities with limited access to safe water and proper sanitation, and those in proximity to infectious vectors and animals.

The survey will be conducted in the Kunene and Zambezi regions, as there are cases of active trachoma in some remote communities with very low access to health care services.

Results from the survey will inform interventions to strengthen the control of NDTs in endemic regions as part of Namibia's efforts to prevent and control widespread neglected tropical diseases affecting vulnerable and remote communities.




Celma Ndhikwa