The design of schistosomiasis monitoring and evaluation programmes: The importance of collecting adult data to inform treatment strategies for Schistosoma mansoni
Schistosomiasis remains an endemic parasitic disease affecting millions of people around the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) has set goals of morbidity control and elimination as a public health problem for schistosomiasis defined by reaching ≤5% and ≤1% prevalence of heavy-intensity infections in school-aged children, respectively. Monitoring and evaluation (M&E) programmes are used to collect data which can inform treatment strategies required in a defined area and can also aid in assessing the progress of implemented treatment strategies. Due to programmatic and financial constraints, M&E data are typically collected from school-aged children as they are thought to be most likely to be infected. We highlight that adults should be included within M&E programmes by showing how the burden of infection in adults impacts our mathematical model recommendations of the treatment coverage levels required to reach the WHO goals for schistosomiasis. Our results highlight the importance of collecting data from a broader age-range, specifically the inclusion of adult data at baseline (prior to treatment) and throughout the treatment programme if possible. Improving M&E programmes to incorporate collection of such data will allow for more accurate determination of the optimal treatment strategy for a defined region.