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Impact of conflict on the elimination targets of lymphatic filariasis, schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminths in Cabo Delgado province, Mozambique.


Background: Mozambique has one of the highest burdens of neglected tropical diseases in Africa. Lymphatic filariasis, schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminths are being targeted for elimination as part of integrated mass drug administration campaigns. The progress made towards interruption of transmission has been affected by recent conflict in Cabo Delgado province. The aim of this paper was to determine the potential impact of this crisis on the neglected tropical diseases programme and the challenges in reaching the elimination goals of 2030.

Methodology: A desk-based secondary data analysis was conducted on publicly available sources of neglected tropical diseases, conflict incidents, internally displaced persons and geographical access between 2020 and 2022. Data were summarised and mapped using GIS software. A combined risk stratified assessment at district level was developed with five classifications i) Very high-risk; ii) High-risk; iii) Medium to high-risk; iv) Medium risk; and v) Not at risk due to conflict absence but co-endemic.

Results: Lymphatic filariasis, schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminths were co-endemic in 115 out of 156 (74%) districts. Between 2020 and 2022 a total of 1,653 conflict-related incidents were reported, most of them in Cabo Delgado province (n = 1,397, 85%). A five-fold increase of internally displaced persons was recorded from April 2020 (n = 172,186) to November 2022 (n = 935,130). Geographical accessibility also deteriorated across the province with an increase from five (29%) in 2021 to seven (41%) districts in 2022 classified as hard-to-reach. The combined risk stratification identified that most districts (n = 7; 41%) in Cabo Delgado province had medium to high-risk; very high-risk (n = 5, 29%); medium risk (n = 3, 18%); high-risk (n = 2, 12%).

Conclusion: Most of the districts of Cabo Delgado were considered to be at risk of not meeting the neglected tropical diseases road map 2021-2030 targets due to the humanitarian crisis ongoing. There is the need for practical strategies and funding to overcome these hostile challenges.

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Journal Article
Badia-Rius X
Sitoe H
Lopes S
Kelly-Hope L