WHO supports Ministry of Health Train Mass Drug Admin Implementers Against Schistosomiasis & Soil Transmitted Helminths in Mash Central

THE World Health Organisation (WHO) in Zimbabwe is supporting the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC) to train Mass Drug Administration (MDAs) implementers in preparation for the 2020 Schistosomiasis (SCH) and Soil Transmitted Helminths (STH)MDAs campaign.

By Michael Gwarisa

Speaking to HealthTimes, WHO Communications Officer, Tatenda Chimbwanda said WHO was supporting Mount Darwin and Shamva get ready for these, the SCH/ STH Mass Drug Administration campaign in these two districts in Mash Central.

“The province will conduct the MDA from 21 to 30 September 2020. The training for MDA implementers were as follows: 9-10 September – Mt Darwin. 11-12, September, – Shamva.  A total of 155 have been trained, Mt Darwin trained 75 people in two groups of 35 each. Then in Shamva, 80, in two groups of 40 each, and the last group was trained on 12 September 2020. WHO is supporting Mouth Darwin and Shamva get ready for these MDAs in the two districts in Mash Central.

Early in the pandemic, Shamva had suspended its community based Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) targeted at schistosomiasis (bilharzia) and soil transmitted helminths (intestinal worms) interventions except those based at health facilities. With information showing that the pandemic was far from over and the need to continue essential health services, WHO released recommendations for NTD interventions in the context of COVID19,” said Chimbwanda.

She added that these recommendations brought the need for health care workers training as Shamva was preparing to conduct their MDAs outreaches in their various catchment areas within the district.

Training in session

“Shamva and Mt Darwin, are both mining communities located in Mashonaland Central Province with a high prevalence of bilharzia due to poor sanitation and gold panning activities along the river banks.

“WHO focused on sensitizing health care workers with by emphasising Infection Prevention and Control Measures to follow when conducting MDAs, such as having hand washing stations and appropriately using Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). It is important for us as WHO to continue supporting Mash Central (Shamva and Mount Darwin) to prepare for the MDA’s campaign scheduled for 21-30 September 2020.

“The safe delivery of MDAs in the context of Covid-19 is critical and focus is on ensuring that health care workers adhere to the right IPC measures i.e have hand washing facilities, select locations which have good air ventilation, enable social distancing, have schedules to avoid mass gathering, pre-screen etc.”

Schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminthiasis (STH) are the most widespread parasitic neglected tropical diseases in the world. These infections are poverty-related and particularly abundant among people with limited access to safe water, sanitary facilities or adequate health facilities.

Schistosomiasis, is a water-associated vector-borne disease caused by parasitic blood flukes, known as schistosomes with at least 200 million people affected worldwide. According to previous estimates, the disease causes the annual loss of between 1.7 and 4.5 million disability adjusted life years.

Of the 78 endemic countries, 39 are located in Africa and it is estimated that around 85 to 90% of the people at risk live in Sub-Saharan Africa, making schistosomiasis the most prevalent neglected tropical disease in Sub-Saharan Africa.

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