A Mass Drug Administration (MDA) campaign targeting the two most prevalent Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) in Angola was launched last week (29 March). For the first time in the country, deworming treatments are being administered to children outside of schools and adults at the community level.
This new approach makes sure the drugs used to treat and prevent schistosomiasis and soil transmitted helminths reach the most vulnerable, and those with minimal access to health services. It comes after a WHO appeal to scale up treatments to age groups and populations outside of schools.
The combination of these interventions moves the programme closer to achieving the National Strategic Plan targets, and the ambitious control and elimination goals for the region.
Cristiano Rocha Andrade, Provincial NTD official, said: “This shift is essential to guarantee equitable access to this key intervention to all individuals at risk of schistosomiasis and soil transmitted helminths.“
MENTOR is supporting the distribution of the treatments in schools and throughout the communities, which is being led by the Angolan Ministry of Health and supported by The END Fund.
The deworming programme started at the beginning of March with the training of 36 municipal focal points. This team then trained 800 distributers across all the communities to ensure the MDA has the widest possible reach.
The campaign aims to deliver nearly 1,700,000 treatments for schistosomiasis and 510,000 for soil transmitted helminths across two provinces of Angola. It is the first of several MDA campaigns planned across 8 of the 18 Angolan provinces throughout the year.