No more neglect. Female genital schistosomiasis and HIV.
The WHO and UNAIDS launched a joint advocacy document during the 20th International Conference on AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Diseases in Africa (ICASA) in Kigali, Rwanda (2–7 December 2019) as a call to action to integrate Female Genital Schistosomiasis with sexual and reproductive heath interventions, including social and mental health services, to improve the lives of women and girls in Africa.
“FGS has remained ignored for far too long,” Dr Pamela Sabina Mbabazi, WHO Department of Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases, told a panel discussion on “Building Synergies for Women’s Health, Rights & Wellbeing” at ICASA 2019. “A comprehensive person-centred health care model using an integrated approach is urgently needed to jointly address the disproportionately heavy disease burden of cervical cancer, HIV, HPV [human papillomavirus] and FGS to improve holistically the sexual and reproductive health rights of women and girls in Africa.”
THe WHO highlights that in order to integrate interventions, such as screening services, councilling, preventative treatment and disease management, all clinical training materials should include FGS. The medical professions, primary health care staff, nurses, midwives, gynaecologists, pediatrcians should be aware of FGS and have access to appropriate diagnostic and treatment protocols.