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Exploring the Role of Community Involvement in Reducing the Burden of Schistosomiasis and Other Neglected Tropical Diseases in Malawi: Where are We in the Fight Against Neglected Tropical Diseases?


Schistosomiasis has been endemic in Malawi since 1947. Despite the longevity of endemicity of the disease, it still maintains a high burden in Malawi. This could be attributed to insufficient coverage of preventive and therapeutic mass drug administration (MDA) which mainly targets school-aged children, leaving out adults who also bear a high burden of the disease. Additionally, despite well documented impact of community involvement in boosting up the effectiveness of health programmes, there is minimal community involvement in schistosomiasis control and prevention programmes. Therefore, this perspective seeks to discuss the historical background of schistosomiasis in Malawi, gaps in community engagement and participation and suggest ways of enhancing the role of the community in prevention and control programmes. Amongst other challenges, the control programmes are centralised, leading to minimal input at the district and community level as well as low awareness of schistosomiasis control and prevention methods at the community level. It is of utmost significance therefore to provide comprehensive schistosomiasis health education to the communities and devise a thorough outline of the specific roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders including community members in the fight against schistosomiasis and other neglected tropical diseases.

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Journal Article
Lubanga A
Bwanali A
Munthali L
Mphepo M
Chumbi G
Kangoma M
Matola Y
Kaonga B
Moyo C