By John Riaga
Five Lake Victoria Islands and the Mbita district mainland are now under KEMRI/CDC’s Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) microscope in an effort to control and possibly eliminate Bilharzia in these areas. According to the Principal Investigator (PI) Dr. Maurice Odiere, this research will extend treatment benefits to areas not previously covered by mass drug administration programs. “This will be the first time islands in Lake Victoria will be able to benefit from a program like this,” he said. The islands of Mfang’ano, Takawiri, Ringiti, Rhemba and Ngodhe along with the Mbita mainland will be targeted in the four-year study beginning February 2012.
The research will generate recommendations for optimal impact indicators that could be included in routine schistosomiasis and Soil Transmitted Helminthes (STH) monitoring and evaluation programs benefiting all of Kenya and other countries where these diseases are endemic. The study will evaluate the public health benefits associated with community-wide and school-based treatment programs for schistosomiasis and STH infections. For preschool-age children especially, direct evidence of schistosomiasis and STH-induced morbidity and the impact of treatment could help to advocate for the extension of routine treatment for this age group. In addition to working in partnership with the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation (MOPHS), Provincial Administration and the Ministry of Education, they also hope to work alongside an organization called Deworm the World in Kenya in support of the National Control Program for Schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted worms.
Thirty study villages being selected have Schistosoma mansoni prevalence of 25% or more, based on screening in schools that fall within 5 km from lakeshore and randomized into two study arms that represent extremes in treatment schedules. “We believe that after the four year intervention, we shall have put under control, if not eliminated, schistosomiasis completely from Mbita and the surrounding islands” said Dr. Odiere. The study titled Capturing the impact of an integrated control program for schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminthes (STH) through monitoring of prevalence and morbidity in high prevalence areas of western Kenya is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which received financial support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for this project.
Last Updated (Tuesday, 12 June 2012 07:23)