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Neglected Tropical Diseases in the Central African Region: A Review of their Mass Treatment Coverage

Abstract

Background: The neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are the most common conditions affecting the poorest 600 million people living in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) of which the Central African region is part and parcel, and together produce a burden of disease that may be equivalent to one-half of SSA’s malaria disease burden and more than double that caused by tuberculosis. Establishing specific information on the mass treatment coverage would provide a basis for prioritizing control strategies as a means to address the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The objective of this review was to determine the mass treatment coverage trend resulting from 5 NTDs amenable to mass treatment in the Central African region.

Methods: A search on PubMed, ScienceDirect, Uniting to Combat NTDs, Cochrane Library, African Journals Online, MEDLINE, Scopus and Google Scholar with the following Keywords: “Neglected Tropical Diseases”, “Mass Treatment Coverage”, “Control”, “Elimination”, “Lymphatic filariasis”, “Onchocerciasis”, “Schistosomiasis”, “Soil-transmitted helminthiases”, “Trachoma was conducted, with the Medical Subject Headings (MeSH), with specific diseases listed as 5 NTDs amenable to mass treatment per Central Africa region country. Studies to assess the mass treatment coverage resulting from 5 NTDs amenable to treatment in Central Africa as the primary outcome variable, were included. Our search was limited to, articles published from the year 2013 to 2018 (A 5 years review) in English and French. The search identified a total of 140 articles amongst which 10 data-based reports and 5 original articles met the inclusion criteria to give a total of 15 papers that were considered.

Results: Our review shows that, in the Central African region, Cameroon has the highest mass treatment coverage

index (58/100) for 5 NTDs while Rwanda, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Sao Tome and Principe had mass treatment coverage indexes of 3/100, 1/100, 0/100, 0/100 respectively indicating the need for coordinated action in filling the missing gaps. Also, in the Central African region; over 66 million people received NTD treatment and those who didn’t receive NTD treatment were over 27 million.

Conclusion: There is a need for more data on progress made in reaching people in need of NTD Mass treatment. The way forward paradigm in achieving the control and elimination of NTDs amenable to mass treatment in Central African countries will be to establish, and sustain a task force on NTDs at the African Union, set up a sustainable fund for neglected tropical diseases at the Africa Union, Regularly monitor and report on progress on neglected tropical diseases while recognizing and celebrating countries as they achieve elimination goals. Equally, operational studies on assessing the rate and impact of NTDs mass treatment coverage in the Central African region should be carried out.

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