Helen Keller International and Partners to Eliminate Neglected Tropical Diseases in Sierra Leone.
Freetown, Sierra Leone – Over 2 million people in 60% of the communities in Sierra Leone suffer from debilitating Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), including onchocerciasis, trachoma, lymphatic filariasis, schistosomiasis (Bilharzia), and soil-transmitted helminthes. Symptoms include physical disfiguration, diarrhea, painful itching, and irreversible blindness. Although all of these diseases are treatable with existing medications, their diagnosis and treatment remains problematic, especially in rural areas where access to health care is limited. Helen Keller International (HKI) in collaboration with the Neglected Tropical Disease Task Force and the Research Triangle Institute (RTI) recently received a 3.5 million USD three-year grant from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to implement an integrated program for NTD control in Sierra Leone.