Experts call for action against spread of mycetoma

At the sixth international conference in Sudan they said it’s essential to set goals and milestones to trigger collaborative research on the disease

By DTE Staff
Last Updated: Tuesday 19 February 2019
Image: Getty Images Image: Getty Images

Health experts have called for action from the global community to address the devastating consequences of mycetoma, a disease characterised by disabling deformities and associated with severe morbidity. This happened at the sixth international conference in Sudan.

“It is important we set goals and milestones that can trigger collaborative research to develop the much needed tools and medicines to simplify diagnosis and treatment,” said Mwelecele Malecela, director, World Health Organization Department of Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases.

“An essential first step could be to look at how we can integrate mycetoma interventions within primary health care delivery, particularly as part of measures targeting diseases that manifest primarily on the skin,” added Malecela.

Mycetoma, which is an inflammatory disease of the skin, connective tissue, muscle and bone, results from infection caused by more than 70 bacterial or fungal microorganisms.

The tropical disease is known to affect rural populations, particularly those who walk barefoot, like agricultural labourers and herdsmen. The experts say reaching people in these underserved areas is crucial to achieving the 2030 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

"Tackling neglected tropical diseases is in line with our mandate to provide health care to everyone, everywhere," says Ahmed Al-Mandhari, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean.

If not detected and managed early, this disease can cause limb deformity and, in advanced cases, lead to amputation and death, add experts at the conference.

“Its global distribution and disabling consequences require adoption of bold new initiatives and approaches to ensure appropriate, early diagnosis and access to enhanced treatment,” says Professor Ahmed Hassan Fahal, Director of the Mycetoma Research Centre in Khartoum, WHO’s only collaborating centre on mycetoma.

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