ESPEN workshops on optimizing MDA implementation for schistosomiasisis
In July-August 2019 the WHO AFRO Extended Special Project for the Elimination of NTDs (ESPEN) ran two workshops on a new tool to analyse schistosomiasis prevalence data at the sub-district (sub-implementation unit = sub-IU) level. The aim of the workshop was to train schisto and NTD data focal points in Ministries of Health from high burden countries (as a start) on this new tool.
The tool enables countries to:
- identify and use site-level prevalence data where available to determine the schistosomiasis endemicity category at the sub-IU level,
- make MDA implementation decisions based on the available sub-IU data or, if not available, based on a neighbouring sub-IU or if more apparoriate, revert to the IU (e.g. district) level endemicity category, and
- based on these intervention decisions calculate the population requiring treatment and the amount of praziquantel needed for each children and adults.
The tool combines national delineated sub-IU shapefiles and demographic data, with sub-IU intervention decisions, to calculate how much treatment is needed for school-aged children and adults (according to current WHO guidelines) for each sub-IU. This enables a better calculation of the amount of PZQ treatment needed by the country as well as how to distribute treatment more effectively and equitably by tailoring treatment to those that need it.
The tool also enables countries to identify where site-prevalence data is missing and where schistosomiasis interventions may not be necessary, which is vital in understanding a country’s need for schistosomiasis endemicity mapping and transmission (or lack of) verification. ESPEN are now organising further workshops for all countries and those working on schistosomiasis and have made the tool and training material available through the ESPEN portal.
We encourage anyone working on schistosomiasis control in the AFRO region to familiarize themselves with this excellent tool.