27 Mar 2014

Yaws eradication to continue in Vanautu - WHO

4:26 pm on 27 March 2014

The World Health Oganisation says it aims to completely eradicate the highly contagious skin disease yaws in Vanuatu after a successful campaign in the province of Tafea.

Vanuatu is one of only three Pacific countries that still reports cases of yaws, which is a bacterial infection transmitted by direct skin contact that can cause ulcers.

WHO's liaison officer for Vanuatu, Dr Jacob Kool, says last year's drug campaign in Tafea treated an estimated 96 percent of the province's population.

He says health authorities enlisted the help of community leaders to encourage others to take medication for yaws.

"To kick off the mass campaign there was a large ceremony with all the chiefs and other community leaders, politicians, and on the camera, on the TV and radio, they took the pills themselves to show the population that it was not harmful and it was good for them."

Dr Jacob Kool says the work against yaws will continue in collaboration with Vanuatu's Ministry of Health.