deworming programme in Kenya

The World Health Organization has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Merck KGaA seeing that the pharmaceutical company increase its donation of praziquantel tablets from 20 million to 250 million annually.


"This increase in donated praziquantel fills an important gap in supply to countries where it is needed and allows us to reach the targets set by previous World Health Assembly resolutions and as outline in WHO's 2012 - 2020 roadmap", said Dr Lorenzo Saviloli, Director of WHO's Department of Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases.


This increase in tablets, used to treat Neglected Tropical Disease, schistosomiasis (also known as bilhazia) will allow implementation partners to coordinate scaling up of interventions for treatment to as many as 100 million school-age children per year.


Hygiene and recreational habits make children especially vulnerable to infection. The disease also affects populations engaged in agricultural activities and fishing. In children, schistosomiasis can cause anaemia, stunted growth and reduced ability to learn, although the effects are usually reversible with treatment.


WHO's strategy for schistosomiasis control targets mainly school age children who are most vulnerable to infection, and aims to reduce morbidity through the regular treatment with praziquantel, through school based deworming as well ascommunity-based deworming programmes.