Bilharzia de-worming exercise targets 300 000 Zim children



THE World Health Organisation (WHO), in partnership with the Health ministry, is targeting to reach 300 000 children under a drug administration exercise against bilharzia and soil transmitted helminths (STH) in Mashonaland Central Province.

According to a national epidemiological survey conducted in 2014, the province had a high prevalence of bilharzia among children, with Shamva having a 62 percent prevalence rate.
“WHO is also supporting a National Mass Treatment Campaign (Mass Drug Administration-MDA) for Bilharzia and intestinal worms which began on 21 September and will run until 30 September, reaching some 300 000 people with free treatment in Shamva and Mount Darwin,” the United Nations (UN) said in its latest situational report.
The MDAs are targeting one to 5-year-olds and are being done under the bilharzia and intestinal worms elimination strategy which began in 2010.
WHO further indicated that bilharzia ranks among the top 10 causes of hospital admissions in the country.
“Although Zimbabwe has not eliminated bilharzia completely, the country has made great progress in reducing the burden as a result of the National Treatment Campaigns conducted every year.
“MDAs ensure people in hard-to-reach places receive the deworming medication without necessarily having to walk long distances to access the service.
“Consequently, under the ministry of Health leadership, Zimbabwe has managed to provide access to praziquantel and albendazole to all infected people regardless of age.
“According to the MDA impact assessment done in 2018, Zimbabwe has had an 78,3 percent prevalence reduction of bilharzia, this is down from a national prevalence of 23 percent in 2010 to 5 percent in 2018,” WHO said.
Meanwhile, WHO recently facilitated integrated Site Support Visits (SSVs) for coronavirus (Covid-19) Case Management, Surveillance, Risk Communication and Community Engagement (RCCE) and Infection Prevention Control (IPC) compliance in Bulawayo Province, Matabeleland South, Harare Metropolitan District and Chitungwiza City.
“The SSVs goal was to build the capacity of the provincial teams to respond to Covid-19, identify and address gaps in management of Covid-19 cases and IPC compliance with policies, guidelines and protocols among health workers and provide on-the-job capacity building and mentorship.
“Furthermore, WHO supported MoHCC-led Intra Action Review (IAR) in Mash West, Central, Bulawayo, Harare and Masvingo Province. IAR’s main object was to review how all the Covid-19 pillars have been operating in the different provinces, document weaknesses and strengths and identify areas of further improvement,” WHO said.


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