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Parasitic worm infections often trap people in a cycle of poverty, and almost a quarter of the population in Uganda is living below the poverty line. We’re supporting the local government to eliminate these infections, including schistosomiasis.
Uganda is situated within the Great Lakes region and even though it is landlocked, almost a fifth of its surface area is covered by open water or swamp land. This includes Lake Victoria containing the source of the River Nile at Jinja, Lake Albert and Lake Edward. Uganda is also home to the Rwenzori Mountains, the highest non volcanic mountain range in Africa often referred to as the Mountains of the Moon and containing the UNESCO World Heritage Rwenzori Mountains National Park.
Uganda has a high burden of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). These affect mainly the rural poor and result in reduced productivity, hence affecting the development of these populations. 93 districts are endemic for schistosomiasis (SCH), with district level prevalence across these districts ranging from 1.2% to 98%. In Uganda, the predominant species is Schistosoma mansoni which causes intestinal SCH. District level prevalence for soil-transmitted helminths (STH) ranges from 1.8% to 90%.
NTDs in Uganda are managed by the NTD Control Programme (NTDCP), housed in the Vector Borne and NTD Division of the Ministry of Health (VB & NTDs – MoH). SCI Foundation (SCIF) has been supporting the NTDCP technically and financially since 2002, with a primary focus on mass drug administration (MDA) for the treatment of SCH and STH, as well as associated mapping and reassessment surveys and monitoring and evaluation activities.
Uganda delivers treatments to people affected by parasitic infections both through schools and in the community. In schools, teachers are responsible for distributing medicines during MDA. In communities, this is the responsibility of Community Medicine Distributors (CMDs) or Village Health Teams (VHTs).
SCIF is currently supporting the delivery of treatments for SCH & STH in 18 districts. SCIF is also working closely with the NTDCP as part of the Pediatric Praziquantel Consortium ADOPT Project and on research to understand the impact of existing SCH control activities on Taenia solium (pork tapeworm) infection.
Control and elimination of NTDs is part of the Uganda National Minimum Care Package as highlighted in the Health Sector Development Plan II. Uganda’s current NTD Master Plan covers the period from 2017-2022. It focuses on elimination as a public health problem for both SCH and STH, primarily through MDA but also incorporating health education and advocacy for improved water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). The Master Plan is complemented by a National Sustainability Plan for NTDs which was launched in 2021.
Hard to reach areas within some districts can pose challenges for treatment delivery. There are also difficulties associated with reaching at-risk but hard to reach groups, for example refugee populations (who are not routinely covered in MDA activities) and non-enrolled school-aged children. The availability of drugs and funding to treat adults and pre-school aged children is also not currently available despite the inclusion of these groups in treatment strategies being recommended by the World Health Organization. While reductions in prevalence have been observed in some areas, there are persistent hotspots of infection in other areas, even after 20 years of national scale treatment. The MoH has also suggested that new areas of transmission may have been created through sand mining and paddy rice growing activities common in the eastern parts of the country.
SCIF continues to work closely with NTDCP to reach their goals and objectives, as outlined in their national strategic plans.
“Control and elimination of schistosomiasis require strong partnership that SCIF has provided to MoH, Uganda Since 2003. The country has been able to identify at risk population through assessments, and provision of annual treatments to most at risk population which has delineated the schistosomiasis endemicity areas at micro-level.”
Prudence Beinamaryo, Program Manager Bilharzia & Worm Control, Vector Borne & Neglected Tropical Diseases Division, Ministry of Health
Developing a suitable formulation to treat infants and preschool-aged children affected by schistosomiasis.
Understanding the impact of existing schistosomiasis control programmes on pork tapeworm (Taenia solium) in Uganda.
As a top rated international development nonprofit, we support deworming programmes across sub-Saharan Africa in the following countries:
View our work in Burundi
View our work in Côte d’Ivoire
View our work in Ethiopia
View our work in DRC
View our work in Liberia
View our work in Madagascar
View our work in Niger
View our work in Sudan
View our work in Tanzania
View our work in Uganda
View our work in Zanzibar
View our work in Pork tapeworm (Taenia Solium) research
View our work in Malawi