NTD programmes and collaborating partners need to track progress towards reaching the WHO NTD Roadmap goals. Each country has a strategic or masterplan with specific objectives and actions to reach the control and elimination goals and to measure achievements through specific coverage and infection indicators.
Both infection prevalence and intensity are key indicators used by countries to monitor and evaluate interventions and to track progress towards control or elimination of the disease. Countries require sensitive diagnostic tools that are affordable and can be used in low-resource settings.
With many groups working worldwide on the development of new SCH tools, the multi-stakeholder platform offered by the GSA brings together individuals working on SCH diagnostics to foster communication as well as synergize efforts in delivering the tools that are required to bridge the gap between where we are now and the WHO goals.
Three main areas of focus for the SCH diagnostic work stream are:
Schistosomiasis transmission can not occur without a suitable aquatic snail species to act as intermediate host. The relationship between schistosome species and aquatic snails species is intricate and fascinating. Schistosome species will only infect specific species of aquatic snails and not others. Research into the diversity, molecular biology and ecology of these snail species can contribute to improved transmission control and surveillance.
This group convenes together researchers working on the snail intermediate host of schistosomiasis to facilitate communication, address barriers to research and identify potential solutions. Areas of focus include:
Urogenital schistosomiasis is a dangerous consequence of schistosome infections that drastically decreases quality of life, causes much misery and pain, leads to pelvic inflammation, infertility and can increase the likelihood of contracting other dangerous diseases such as HIV.
Increased efforsts to raise awareness of the impact of genital schistosomiasis on women's health (termed Female Genital Schistosomiasis) has lead to important policy and advocacy papers being reseleased by the WHO and UNAIDS to ramp up research on Female Genital Schistosomiasis and look at integration with other health programmes such as HIV and cervical cancer screening. Several research projects and programmes have been set up and are ongoing.
The GSA multistakeholder platform is being used to bring together a group of researchers and practitioners working on genital schistosomiasis to share updates, materials and to find solutions to common challenges, in a community of practice.
If you are interested in a workstream please email us: anouk [dot] gouvras [at] eliminateschisto [dot] org