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MBABANE – One in 25 people globally has one of the four types of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs).

From Eswatini’s perspective, it means about 48 000 cases of STI’s have been attended to, out of the population of 1.2 million.
This is according to a report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) released on June 6, 2019 which states that globally over one million STIs are acquired everyday worldwide.

The four main types of sexually transmitted infections include trichomoniasis, Chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis.
Chlamydia and gonorrhea were labelled the major causes of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and infertility affecting women.
STI symptoms can include discharge, pain urinating and bleeding between periods.

According to the report if a woman contracts an STI when she’s pregnant, it can lead to stillbirth, premature birth, low birth-weight and health problems for the baby including blindness, congenital deformities and pneumonia among others.


Worth noting, is that all four diseases were reportedly associated with an increased risk of acquiring and transmitting HIV.
That then means the world receives more than 376 million new cases annually of the four infections.

Even so, the WHO stated in their report that the results have proven to have no much difference compared to those of the 2012 and 2016, which was the last time they did the statistics.

Previous reports show that among men and women aged 15–49 years, there were 127 million new cases of Chlamydia in 2016, 87 million of gonorrhea, 6.3 million of syphilis and 156 million of trichomoniasis.

These STIs have a profound impact on the health of adults and children worldwide. If untreated, they can lead to serious and chronic health effects that include neurological and cardiovascular disease, infertility, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirths, and increased risk of HIV. They are also associated with significant levels of stigma and domestic violence.


“Syphilis alone caused an estimated 200 000 stillbirths and newborn deaths in 2016, making it one of the leading causes of baby loss globally,” reads part of the report. 

 The lack of proper intervention means for the spread of STIs as per the comparison of figures was declared as a wake-up call to which the biggest concern according to WHO was particularly about the rise in drug-resistant STIs.

The focal person of STIs in the Ministry of Health, Mpumelelo Mavimbela, stated that they were concerned about the statistics hence they have, in 2018, updated guidelines on how to treat the infections.


The guidelines, he said, were going to be reviewed in 2021 to see if they were effective adding that the guidelines were targeted at the resistance in treatment, especially in gonorrhea.  

Mavimbela mentioned that they were normalising the situation by adapting to the new guidelines that were recommended by WHO.
“We have also developed job aids to make sure it is easy for caretakers dealing with STIs,” added Mavimbela.

As part of their plans they introduced syndromic management to track the trails of the infections.
When asked if they had national statistics on patients treated for the infections, Mavimbela said they had a challenge combining the statistics as STIs were recurrent, adding that one would be treated for it today and get infected again in a week’s time. 

“I do not have the exact figures because the infections are recurrent,” mentioned Mavimbela.


He said as they were making means to improve their strategies, they were having a challenge because there was a shortage of some of the crucial medication and instruments needed, which he said were part of the new recommendation.

Part of the things one should do to ensure they are safe from STIs according to healthline.com is practicing safe sex, particularly through condom use, and better access to testing.
It continues to state that bacterial STIs can be treated and cured with widely available medications.

“But syphilis treatment has been made more difficult because of a shortage in the specific kind of penicillin needed, and there has been an increase in cases of so-called super-gonorrhea which is almost impossible to treat,” reads part of the tips.

The need to urgently reduce the spread of STIs infections and invest in new antibiotics and treatments to replace those that no longer work is needed.


 It was part of the WHO country cooperation strategic agenda of 2014-2019, strategic priority III, to promote health through the life course by promoting the implementation and monitoring of evidence-based interventions, to reduce mortality through the life course by supporting the implementation and monitoring of interventions on family planning, prevention and management of abortions, STIs cancers of the reproductive organs and adaptation and implementation of guidelines for sexual and reproductive health.

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