Ioba Launches Mass Treatment Campaign for Bilharzia Elimination

IOBA — Over 86,000 children aged between 5 and 14 in Ioba province are set to receive treatment as part of a broad campaign against schistosomiasis, commonly known as bilharzia, which is scheduled from May 14 to 19, 2024, across Burkina Faso, excluding the Cascades region.

According to Burkina Information Agency, the campaign is a crucial step in addressing the significant public health issue presented by bilharzia, a disease marked by the presence of blood in urine or stools and potentially leading to severe complications such as bladder, kidney, and genital cancers. The disease is contracted through contact with water contaminated by faecal matter and urine carrying the parasites. Mass treatment with the drug praziquantel and efforts to interrupt transmission are central to the campaign’s strategy.

This initiative encompasses 42 health districts across 12 regions of Burkina Faso, with the Dano and Batié health districts in the South-West being directly involved. The Dano district reports a bilharzia prevalence rate of 33%. The targeted mass treatment aims to reduce the prevalence of high-intensity infections to below 5%.

During the campaign, there will also be educational and communication sessions to enhance understanding of the human role in transmitting schistosomiasis. Dr. Salam Mandé, the chief medical officer of the Dano health district, emphasized the need for the involvement of administrative, religious, and community leaders, as well as media and civil society organizations, to ensure the campaign’s success.

Bernadette Adenyo / Sermé, the High Commissioner of Ioba province, highlighted the importance of this advocacy meeting in ensuring effective mobilization for the campaign. She called for increased awareness regarding hygiene and sanitation practices, specifically targeting the elimination of open defecation to support the health initiatives.

Ms. Adenyo expressed her gratitude towards the healthcare workers in Dano for their dedication to safeguarding the community’s health and underscored the vital role of community support in the campaign’s success.