"As Neglected Tropical Diseases and Leprosy are a public health and community development problem, we celebrate this date to once again emphasize the need to do everything to make Angola a country free of NTDs and Leprosy, which implies immediate reinforcement of our action, combating negligence, so that we can achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030", said the minister at the time, quoted in a note from the Ministry of Health, which VerAngola had access to.
According to the official statement, regarding leprosy, the country is in the process of eliminating this disease, "as a public health problem, with a detection rate of two cases per 100,000 inhabitants and a prevalence of less than one case per 10 thousand inhabitants".
Stressing that annually, globally, there are between 400 to 500 thousand new cases of leprosy, the minister indicated that, within the scope of public policies, the ministry "has spent considerable effort in the process of strategic planning, with a view to expanding innovative interventions of prevention, treatment and rehabilitation".
The holder of the Health portfolio also said that they intend, from 2023, to expand "data management based on the digital health information system and the georeferencing of people with leprosy".
Sílvia Lutucuta considered that this strategic intervention will contribute to "monitoring progress towards zero leprosy": "This strategic intervention will contribute to being able to monitor progress towards zero leprosy. On the other hand, it will allow for solid programmatic decision-making based on evidence", she assured, quoted in the note.
The minister said that progress has also been made in relation to neglected tropical diseases.
"I am talking about the elaboration of the 2021/2025 Strategic Plan, which identifies the main integrated and innovative strategies for reducing the burden of these diseases in the population, particularly in the most disadvantaged populations", she indicated.
The minister also stressed that the fight against diseases translates into an opportunity to reduce poverty and generate a healthier and more prosperous society for future generations. "These diseases cause not only suffering and disability, but also have consequences on the socio-economic health of individuals, families and communities", she said, quoted by Angop, adding that the diseases make it impossible for children to go to school and adults to work.
Teresa Nóbrega, representative of the Mentor Initiative, quoted by Angop, reaffirmed the help for this year regarding technical support to the national programme, mass administration actions and supply of medicines to eight provinces of Angola, adding that, according to the indications from the World Health Organization (WHO), also intend to help, this year, in the treatment of more than six million people with NTDs, with emphasis on children.
Djamila Cabral, WHO representative, said, quoted by Angop, that NTDs "are neglected because they are almost absent from the agendas of health organizations, enjoy little funding and end up being associated with stigma, discrimination and social exclusion".
It should be noted that the motto of the World Day for Leprosy and Neglected Tropical Diseases was "Act now, act together, invest in the fight against leprosy and NTDs".