Govt to launch Mass Drug Administration for bilharzia

via Govt to launch Mass Drug Administration for bilharzia | The Herald January 8, 2015 by Sharon Kavhu

Government has embarked on the third edition of mass drug administration programme for bilharzia and intestinal worms that severely affect children below 15 years.

The programme will be held at Munyarari Clinic in Mutare on January 19.

It was initially slated for October last year but failed to take off because of inadequate financial resources and other logistics.

In an interview during a training workshop in Bulawayo, the Ministry of Health and Child Care’s Epidemiology and Disease Control director Dr Portia Manangazira confirmed the launch of the programme.

“Our ministry and other stakeholders in these neglected diseases have finally mobilised all the resources required for the third MDA to be held this month,” said Dr Manangazira.

“We already did the training and sensitisation programmes with the relevant groups of people, that is teachers, nurses and several community members last year.”

She said administering of the drugs would be conducted in disease prone districts countrywide.

Government says 57 out of the 63 districts in the country are endemic to bilharzia and 56 out of 63 districts are prone to intestinal worms.

“Only children between the ages five and 15 will be administered drugs for bilharzia while children between ages one and 15 will be administered drugs for intestinal worms,” she added. Dr Manangazira urged parents to bring their children for MDA to prevent the parasites from causing future deformities that could significantly hamper their development.

Bilharzia, scientifically referred to as schistosomiasis, is caused by schistosome ova that breeds in unclean water. In 2013, the ministry and its partners managed to cover at least 64 percent of the 3,3 million children targeted for bilharzia treatment and 50 percent of the 4,7 million children targeted for intestinal worms treatment.