In November 2009, members of the visiting medical team encountered unusual skin ulcers in many children from remote villages in the Deg area. They became suspicious that Yaws might be the cause of these painful sores, even though the disease was considered to be eradicated in Ghana.
Yaws is an infectious tropical disease that affects skin, bone, and cartilage. Its primary victims are children under 15 and it can lead to chronic disability.
Consulting with local health care workers, the medical team determined that what they were seeing was indeed Yaws. Their Ghanaian colleagues hadn’t seen any cases of Yaws for over 20 years, and the discovery caused real concern that this contagious infection might be returning. Team members began treating patients for this condition.
The medical team members also carefully documented 81 cases of suspected Yaws, which David and Brenda Mensah then submitted to the Regional Director of Health Services. In a meeting with the Director, the Mensahs learned that health officials are concerned about a resurgence of Yaws in the country.
Although treatment is a relatively straightforward and cost-effective injection of Penicillin, it can be difficult for Ministry of Health personnel to locate patients afflicted with Yaws in order to give them the necessary treatment.
The Ministry of Health is thankful for the contribution that NEA and the medical team have made by sharing important information about the incidence of Yaws in the Deg region. They also expressed deep appreciation for the team’s treatment of afflicted patients in the Deg Region.