Schistosomiasis remains a problem in the rural forested areas in the state of Pernambuco, Brazil.
Although relatively easy to treat once diagnosed, schistosomiasis (also known as bilharzia, blood fluke, or "snail fever") remains a public health problem in several tropical locales, including northeastern Brazil.
The decentralization of the Schistosomiasis Control Programme in 1993 from the Ministry of Health to the primary health care providers of individual states and municipalities reduced the impetus for the programme in rural areas.
A renewed worldwide interest in schistosomiasis was addressed by the World Health Organization in 2001; and its position was iterated in the World Health Assembly Resolution 54.19: "a minimum target of regular administration of chemotherapy to at least 75%, and up to 100%, of all school-age children at risk of morbidity by 2010."
The most recent analysis of the community-based programme in Pernambuco is found in an article in PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, which states that the current version of the program in rural areas will not meet the goals of WHA 54.19 unless a school-based programme is developed.
Therefore, local primary health care provider outlets should focus on schools to reach the most vulnerable yet still accessible population.
The integration of the Ministry of Health mission with the Ministry of Education accessibility to school children at the local level in Pernambuco, as well as policy invigoration of the Ministry of Environment toward the public health risk associated with dam construction, could help Pernambuco and the nation of Brazil continue toward its original goal of schistosomiasis eradication.
Adapted from the original article from the Social and Behavioural Foundations of Primary Health Care.