Integrated Mass Treatment Protects 13 Million against Neglected Tropical Diseases in Côte d’Ivoire
June 9th, 2017
Beginning with a kick-off ceremony in Daoukro district on May 12, 2017, Côte d’Ivoire launched its annual integrated mass treatment campaign against three neglected tropical diseases (NTD)—lymphatic filariasis (LF), onchocerciasis (oncho) and soil-transmitted helminths (STH), which took place on May 12–19, 2017 in 57 health districts. Notable attendees including the country’s director general for health; the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) West Africa mission director, health director, and infectious disease team lead; and representatives from the World Health Organization (WHO), FHI360 and Sight Savers, emphasized the need to support and fully engage health authorities across the country to meet NTD elimination and control targets by 2020.
Located in the West African tropics, Côte d’Ivoire is affected by 10 of the 17 NTDs that have been identified by the WHO as public health problems. Among these parasitic diseases are LF and onchocerciasis, which progress slowly and often lead to debilitating and marginalizing complications such as elephantiasis and hydrocele (with LF), both of which cause grotesque and painful swelling in various bodily locations, or irreversible blindness (with oncho). These diseases perpetuate the cycle of poverty and negatively affect the socio-economic development of the country.
Since FY 2015, Côte d’Ivoire’s Neglected Tropical Disease programs (NTDP) in the Ministry of Health and Public Hygiene (MSHP) have been working with the END in Africa project, which is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and managed by FHI 360, to fight the five NTDs that can be treated through preventive chemotherapy (LF, oncho, STH, schistosomiasis and trachoma). In Côte d’Ivoire, the project activities are implemented by the MSHP through the National Program for Schistosomiasis, Soil Transmitted Helminthiasis and Lymphatic Filariasis control (PNSGF) and the National Program for Eye Health and Onchocerciasis Control (PNSOLO).
The NTDP uses the existing health system, including the central level office, health regions and health districts, to implement its activities and harnesses the necessary human resources from within that system. However, because so many people—13 million people ages 5 years and older—needed to be treated with the anti-NTD medicines ivermectin and albendazole this year, the NTDP also used social mobilization strategies and capacity building sessions, supported by END in Africa, to reach the population and train health workers in every region prior to the mass treatment campaign. The FY 2017 training strategically included the governors of 15 regions in the country.
This strategy has already begun to pay dividends.
In 2016, the NTDP in Côte d’Ivoire reported significant success in terms of treatment coverage at the national level. That year, the NTDP achieved program coverage of 90.8%, based on a target of treating almost 10.3 million people in 41 health districts for LF and oncho, and therapeutic coverage of 71.9%.
As the results of the 2017 treatment campaign have not yet been reported, it’s too early to gauge program and therapeutic coverage for this year. However, stay tuned to the END in Africa website for more information on progress toward NTD control and elimination in Côte d’Ivoire over the coming months.
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