SCI Foundation is now Unlimit Health. Learn more about what the change means for our ongoing efforts to eliminate neglected tropical diseases

Community-led project to reduce schistosomiasis risk and improve WASH in Uganda

Since July 2020, Unlimit Health has been collaborating with partners on a pilot project in three communities with a high prevalence of schistosomiasis infection in Kamuli district, Eastern Uganda.  

The pilot tested approaches and methods to enhance community innovation and participation in health protection measures. Additionally, it provided insights for further collaboration between Unlimit Health and partners for disease prevention.  

Following on from the pilot project

Based on the pilot and having secured additional funding, the project partners are currently working to deliver key water supply, sanitation and health promotion interventions identified in the community action plans of the three communities who participated in the pilot. The project will start the process of producing community-led analyses of schistosomiasis transmission in three additional communities in Kamuli district.

This new project will undertake the following: 

  • A baseline survey to establish current levels of access to water supply and sanitation infrastructure, as well as levels of contact with contaminated surface water will be undertaken to establish a risk baseline.   
  • A new water supply system: The key driver of communities’ exposure to schistosomiasis is contact with contaminated surface water. The project will support the implementation of an innovative alternative water supply system, the Gravity-diverted membrane filtration (GDM) system, developed by EAWAG,  to help reduce reliance on contaminated surface water.  
  • Community environmental adaptations testing: Not all water contact is mediated by access to safe water supply. Fishing, rice farming, sand mining and recreational swimming all take place in the project communities and are tied to daily lives and livelihoods. Other measures are needed to reduce the risk of schistosomiasis transmission and exposure and could include activities such as making contact sites less likely to harbour disease-transmitting snails. Such activities require further community discussion and action.  
  • Sanitation: The eggs of the schistosomiasis species most common in Uganda (S. mansoni) are excreted into the environment through human faeces. Sanitation improvements are part of a risk-reduction strategy. The project will support existing government-led initiatives to improve sanitation infrastructure and practices.
  • Behaviour change communication: A campaign based on social mobilisation through radio and engagement of traditional leaders, and on enhancing existing health promotion activities, will be developed to address misconceptions and increased awareness on the transmission of schistosomiasis.  


Country: Uganda

Implementing partnersThe project is a collaboration between Unlimit Health, the Uganda Ministry of Health (MoH), the Uganda Ministry of Water and Environment, RANAS (a Swiss-based agency specialised in behaviour change approaches) and local partners

Timescale: September 2023 to September 2024

Supported by: The Helen and Michael Brown Charitable Trust, the Christopher Williams Charitable Trust, the Bryan Guinness Charitable Trust and numerous individual supporters via the Big Give Christmas Challenge.



Miria Bawaza helping Prossy Nabirye load a bicycle with jerrycans of water – Uganda. Image by: Unlimit Health/Malaika Media
Prossy Nabirye pumping the borehole to get water for her family -Uganda. Image by Unlimit Health/Malaika Media