The Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases’ Control Program Teams with Rwandan Government and International Organizations to Deworm More Than 4 Million Children Nationwide, Covering Nearly Half of the Country’s Population
NTD Prevalence Rates Up to 95% Among Rwandan School-Children
What: Continued progress in fighting Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) is being made in Rwanda this week as the government and its partners kick off Mother and Child Health Week on Tuesday, March 24 at an Opening Ceremony in Musanze. Over the course of the week-long initiative, representatives will administer albendazole to a targeted population of 4 million children under five, school-aged children, and post-partum women, to treat for soil-transmitted helminthes (STHs).
Additionally, in the high prevalence areas, praziquantel will be administered to an estimated 100,000 people for schistosomiasis infection. The goal of the campaign is to treat all pre and school-aged children nationwide – covering approximately one-half of Rwanda’s population. Vitamin A, immunizations, family planning services and health education messages will also be delivered throughout the country during the course of the campaign.
Why: Research has shown that eliminating the burden of NTDs could lift millions out of poverty worldwide by ensuring children stay in school to learn and prosper and improving maternal and child health. NTDs infect over 400 million school-aged children throughout the developing world. Treating their infections is the single most cost-effective way to boost school attendance. Controlling intestinal worms alone will help to avoid 16 million cases of mental retardation and 200 million years of lost primary schooling.
Recent studies have found that NTDs – especially soil-transmitted helminths (STHs) and schistosomiasis – are prevalent throughout Rwanda. In 2007, over 65% of school-aged children were found to be infected with STHs nationwide; in the Northern Province, the prevalence rate surpasses 80%. In Musanze, in the northern province of Rwanda, there is a staggering 95% prevalence of STH among school-aged children.
WHO: The Rwandan Minister of Health will speak at the opening ceremony. There will also be representatives from the participating partner organizations, including: Rwandan Government Officials, the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases, UNICEF, the World Health Organization, USAID, The Global Fund, The Earth Institute’s the Access Project, World Food Program, GTZ and UNFPA.
When: Tuesday, March 24th – Friday March 27th
Where: The Opening Ceremony will take place in Musanze in the Northern Province of Rwanda. Mass Drug Administration events will occur across the country over the course of the week.