13 Feb 2013

Campaign to eradicate skin disease in Vanuatu's Tafea province

2:33 pm on 13 February 2013

The Ministry of Health in Vanuatu will launch a campaign with the help of the World Health Organisation to try to eradicate the skin disease yaws in Tafea province, where rates have been on the increase.

The two organisations came together for a recent workshop with other stakeholders and will roll out an awareness campaign in Tafea in April.

The Neglected Tropical Disease coordinator for Ministry of Health, Fasihah Taleo, says as many as 7,000 cases of the disease were reported in 2011 in Tafea, mostly in children.

She says the disease is spread by direct contact and the priority is to educate people about simple hygiene practices.

"When we did a survey we found out only 20 percent had knowledge on the disease, how it passed, so it's very low in terms of understanding of the disease and how transmission takes place so we have to focus more on the awareness."

Fasihah Taleo says poor access to clean water also contributes to high rates of the disease in Tafea.