The Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC), with support from WHO, is conducting a Mass Drug Administration (MDA) exercise against Schistosomiasis (Bilharzia) and Soil Transmitted Helminthes (STH) in Mashonaland Central Province's Mt Darwin and Shamva districts from the 21st to the 30th of September 2020. Praziquantel will be administered to a target population aged 5 years and above for Bilharzia, while Albendazole will be administered to 1 years olds and above against STH.
The MDA comes as a stop gate measure against the transmission cycle of the two Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) which were found to have high prevalence in the 2 districts. However, MoHCC acknowledges the significant role played by other socio-economic determinant factors in driving the scourge of bilharzia and STH through activities such as fishing, gold panning, dip water gardening and swimming, among others. As a result, MoHCC continues to promote self protection and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) practices in communities.
If left untreated, STH can cause severe stomach pains, malnutrition, stunted growth and long term disability while Bilharzia can lead to major complications such as high blood pressure, seizures, bacterial infections, urinary obstruction, organ damage and even death.
MoHCC has since conducted capacity building trainings in the two districts to enable health workers to implement the MDA within the COVID-19 context. Henceforth, the Ministry calls on all participants involved to adhere to the preventive measures as advised by teams on the ground and these include:
• Putting on a face mask
• Observing physical distancing and
• Frequent handwashing.
MoHCC further calls on all eligible persons and caregivers to take this opportunity to access the MDA medicines at their respective designated health facilities and schools, as well as outreach sites from the 21st to the 30th of September 2020.