Stories from the Field

Mr. Alhassan Ahmed

05/01/2014
Mr. Alhassan Ahmed

Photo source: USAID

Technical Officer for Disease Control, Neglected Tropical Disease Programme

Mr. Alhassan Ahmed joined the World Health Organization’s Onchocerciasis Control Programme (OCP) in 1995, when spraying insecticides by aircraft was the main disease control strategy. Based at the district level of the health system, he is one of the Programme’s longest-serving technical officers.

Mr. Ahmed first joined the Programme as a field technician. He received on-the-job training and learned to perform skin biopsies, known as skin snipping; use microscopic equipment for epidemiological surveys; and catch, dissect and preserve flies (the disease vectors) for DNA molecular analysis.

He later attended the Rural Health Training School of the Ministry of Health, and upon finishing his training he became a technical officer for disease control. Returning to work at the district level, Mr. Ahmed continued providing technical support to the Neglected Tropical Disease Programme (which subsequently subsumed the OCP) at the community, district and national levels, a job he continues doing to this day.

In his work on NTDs, Mr. Ahmed has performed the following key activities:

  • Conduct epidemiological surveillance by microscopic/DEC patch reading, 1995 to date.
  • Conduct entomological activities – dissect black flies, prospect fly breeding sites and manually treat river bodies with insecticides, 1998 to date.
  • Distribute ivermectin tablets on a quarterly, bi-annual and annual basis as part of a mobile team from 1995 to 1998.
  • Plan and conduct community-directed treatment with ivermectin (CDTI) at the district level.
  • Participate in onchocerciasis (oncho) mapping of southern Ghana in 1995, to extend CDTI.
  • Serve as district co-coordinator for oncho control activities, 1995 to date.
  • Serve as a member of the Ghana National Team for Onchocerciasis Control.

Mr. Ahmed has performed these roles with distinction and dedication for almost 20 years, and he continues to offer enormous support to the NTD Programme in all capacities at the district level.