Yaws: Present and Future Strategies


Yaws is an infection that is instigated by the Treponema pallidum bacteria. This infection is very infectious and is common to young people under the age of fifteen. Essentially, the disease is known to affect the skin, bones and cartilage. This infection is common in the rural poor areas of the Asian, African, and South American continents. Yaws is worsened by poor sanitation and hygiene. The main mode of transmission is through direct contact between individuals. The bacteria that cause yaws thrive in the epidermis. The disease occurs in four stages. These include the primary stage, the secondary stage, the latent stage and the tertiary stage. The disease is characterized by the development of ulcerative skin lesions (Amin, et al., 2010).

Present and future strategies about the yaws

During the mid-20th century, strategies to control yaws emphasized the need for population assessment. The focus was on the prevalence of active and contagious incidences. These surveys were used to cover expansive areas that had been affected. The surveys were accompanied by mass or selective treatment. The survey results were also critical in the determination of the best control method. Other surveys were carried out to offer treatment to those who were not treated during the initial survey. In the South Pacific region, the World Health Organisation and UNICEF facilitated the establishment of the national control programs (Capuano and Ozaki, 2011).

Surveys that were carried out during the mid-20th century led to a massive reduction in the prevalence of the disease. It has been noted that only six cases were reported in Niue during the year 1957. In the period between 1964 and 1984, there were three incidences reported in Fiji. The same trend was reported in other areas that were previously reported high incidences of the disease before the eradication campaigns (Geizer 1986). Reports indicate that the yaws control measures were incorporated with other programs to offer basic health services (World Health Organization, 2008). After some time, there was laxity in the way the disease was being managed. There was inadequate funding and lack of political will in the management of yaws initiatives. This was coupled with weak primary health care systems. This saw the emergence of significant cases of yaws that were poorly reported. In the period between 1970 and 1980, there were various cases reported in the South Pacific region (Capuano and Ozaki, 2011).

Future strategies towards the control of yaws can be borrowed from the World Health Organisation recommendation that was established in 1984. In this regard, the treatment approaches should be centered on the prevalence of the disease. This disease poses new challenges to health care providers. There should be an effective strategy designed to combat the disease. This strategy should be guided by consistent epidemiological information and political goodwill. In this regard, the strategies should be innovative and make use of the available programs targeting the same population. For instance, yaws control strategies can be integrated into health promotion programs targeting school-going children such as deworming. The strategies should also be identified at the country level to address the unique issues presented in the country (Capuano and Ozaki, 2011). Yaws can be handled comprehensively by integrating them in primary health care (Meheus, 1985).


Yaws was effectively dealt with during the mid-20th century through the population assessment strategies that were employed. Nonetheless, lack of political goodwill and limited resources led to an increase in the prevalence of the disease. The control strategies for the disease should be innovative to address the challenges presented by the disease. In this case, the integration of the control strategies in other programs targeting young people is necessary. In addition, political commitment to the eradication of the disease is critical.

Reference List

Amin, R et al. 2010, Eradication of yaws,Journal of Clinical Medicine and Research, vol. 2, No. 3, pp. 049-054.

Capuano, C and Ozaki, M 2011,Yaws in the Western Pacific Region: A Review of the Literature, Web.

Geizer, I 1986, Yaws in the Western Pacific region: an overview. The Southeast Asian Journal of tropical Medicine and Public Health. Vol.17, No. 4, pp. 8–13.

Meheus, A. (1985). Integration of yaws control and primary health care.Reviews of Infectious Diseases,Vol. 7, p. S284–288.

World Health Organization,2008, Elimination of yaws in India. Weekly Epidemiological Record,Vol. 83, No. 15, pp. 125–132.

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