The World Health Organization in Africa has opened its first technical meeting on Communicable diseases(CDS) in Accra.
The three day event brings together CDS staff members across the WHO Africa region to discuss challenges and propose solutions to the cluster of communicable diseases burdening the African region.
The meeting in the end is expected to adopt strategic and operational approaches towards enhancing impact of investments on Communicable diseases whilst defining its priorities for the 2018-1019 planning cycle for the WHO African countries.
Africa in the past decades has seen major progress on reducing the incidence of some Communicable diseases; malaria, tuberculosis,Neglected Tropical Diseases and the spread of HIV/AIDS but many more efforts are needed to fully eradicate a wide range of diseases and address many different persistent and emerging health issues such as Viral hepatitis.
The meeting forms part of goal 3 of the Sustainable Development Goal adopted in January 1, 2016,among it, targets to end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases and combat hepatitis, water-borne diseases and other communicable diseases by 2030.
The meeting is being chaired by Dr. Magda Robalo who is the Director, Communicable Diseases Cluster Regional Office for Africa, WHO.
Communicable, or infectious diseases, are caused by microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi that can be spread, directly or indirectly, from one person to another. Some are transmitted through bites from insects while others are caused by ingesting contaminated food or water.
A variety of disease-producing bacteria and viruses are carried in the mouth, nose, throat and respiratory tract. Conditions such as leprosy, tuberculosis (TB) and different strains of influenza (flu) can be spread by coughing, sneezing, and saliva or mucus on unwashed hands.
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as HIV and viral hepatitis are spread through the exposure to infective bodily fluids such as blood, vaginal secretions and semen. Hepatitis is a significant concern in the African Region and the majority of people living with hepatitis B and C are unaware of their infections.