In her statement, USAID Neglected Tropical Diseases Advisor, Ploi Swatdisuk said her organization had over the last five years been working in partnership and in close collaboration with the Helen Keller International to eradicate the said diseases in Sierra Leone.
She informed her audience that one of the reasons for being in the country was to assess Helen Keller International on how far it had gone towards eliminating the Neglected Tropical Diseases in the country.
Ploi Swatdisuk noted that she was impressed with the achievements made so far by Helen Keller International and assured the gathering that her organization would continue to work hand in glove with Helen Keller International, until the said diseases being eradicated from the length and breadth of Sierra Leone.
In contribution, the Associate Technical Director at the Africa Project, Dr. Joseph Brima Koroma maintained that his organization was an intermediary between USAID and other organizations in Africa that continued to receive funding from the USAID.
He went on to state that because they were the conduit through which funding was provided to the Helen Keller International, they had been closely monitoring the activities of Helen Keller International in ensuring that they fully implement the project to the letter.
Dr. Joseph Koroma explained that out of fourteen districts in the country, eight of them had freed from the dangerous disease, and the eight districts had been certified by the World Health Organization. He said they still have five more districts that were still battling with the disease and these included; Kailahun, Kenema, Bombali, Koinadugu, and the Western Area Rural Districts.
“We are working very hard to ensure that by 2020, the said diseases would have been eliminated in the five remaining districts,” Dr Joseph Koroma assured.
Speaking at the occasion, the deputy Minister two in the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Madam Zuliatu Cooper, thanked officials of USAID and the Helen Keller International for their relentless efforts in the fight against the Neglected Tropical Diseases in Sierra Leone.
She expressed delight for eradicating the diseases in eight districts and encouraged locals of the remaining five districts to redouble their efforts towards kicking the disease out of the country.
Madam Cooper admonished Helen Keller to include traditional rulers in their activities, as they have great role to play in the fight against the Neglected Tropical Diseases.