Schistosomiasis is the biggest killer you’ve probably never heard of.
Controlling & eliminating schistosomiasis will free children from this vicious cycle of poverty.
The GSA are determined to cut the cycle of infection & eliminate schistosomiasis.
Children with schistosomiasis cannot flourish at school, cannot grow strong and healthy, and cannot fulfil their potential to contribute to society. The food and drink they consume - that scarcely provides enough nourishment for them - feeds a parasite growing silently inside them.
Water is the lifeblood of many tropical and subtropical communities. Rivers and lakes provide people with somewhere to wash, to drink, to clean clothes and irrigate their fields. They also provide children with somewhere to play.
Playing is an intrinsic part of any childhood. But in communities where schistosomiasis is rife, it can prove fatal. Children put themselves in danger every time they step in the water to play with their friends.
Relieving the burden of chronic disease on poverty-stricken countries will significantly contribute to their development and prosperity, with a healthy workforce ready to face the challenges of the future.
Three critical elements are needed to achieve elimination – regular treatment of at risk populations, improved water sanitation and the knowledge to educate health workers and communities about this disease.
Treatment is very effective if given early in life and the biggest ever donation of an effective drug to treat the disease – Praziquantel – has provided a unique window of opportunity.
Each member of the GSA is poised and ready to play their role in ending this debilitating disease, but it takes more than words. It takes action. The GSA is calling upon governments and international partners to show their support and commitment to mobilising resources to enable the GSA to do its job.
To say “schistosomiasis” and bring it to the attention of policy makers.
To say “go” and eliminate a disease that is robbing their children of their future.
Communities are ready too – and waiting for a solution to enable their children to play safely today and live life to the full tomorrow. The solutions exist and they are within reach. Just say the word.
Schistosomiasis is a water and vector-borne tropical disease. The parasitic blood flukes, known as schistosomes, multiply in freshwater snails and spread through the water. Infection is acquired when people come into contact with fresh water infested with the larval forms of the schistosomes. A lack of awareness and understanding of the neglected tropical disease is massively undermining efforts to control, and ultimately eliminate the disease.
Schistosomiasis affects more than 240 million people worldwide. It is endemic in 70 developing countries, including countries in Africa, the Middle East, Asian and the Caribbean.
An estimated 90% of schistosomiasis cases are found in sub-Saharan Africa. It is the biggest cause of parasite morbidity and mortality in Africa after malaria.
Schistosomiasis can be successfully treated with a drug called Praziquantel that can be used effectively to treat school-aged children and communities. When combined with proper sanitation and clean water, to stop re-infection, schistosomiasis could be eliminated entirely.
Schistosomiasis is one of the most cost effective diseases to treat: Praziquantel costs just 75 cents per person, per year.
The GSA brings together the organisations that can make the most difference in the shortest amount of time. Each carefully selected member has made a profound commitment to allocating resources, expertise and support - for as long as it takes to eliminate schistosomiasis.
Ministry support from:
The Federal Ministry of Health of Ethiopia (FMHE)
The Ministry of Health (MoH) Zanzibar
Zanzibar has been endemic for urogenital schistosomiasis since immemorial times, with the first report on schistosomiasis dating back to the 19th century in The Lancet. In the 1960s several studies were undertaken showing the high burden of morbidity due to urogenital schistosomiasis on the islands of Unguja (Zanzibar) and especially on Pemba.
In the early 1980s the Ministry of Health (MoH) of Zanzibar, in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), implemented studies to evaluate the impact of large scale school-based treatment with a single dose of the then newly available praziquantel on morbidity and transmission of Schistosoma haematobium.
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