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Onchocerciasis: training of health workers at national and district levels on skin-NTDs


Onchocerciasis has been included as part of the skin-neglected tropical diseases in the NTD road map 2021-2030 launched by WHO in 2020. Onchocerciasis is transmitted to humans through exposure to repeated bites of infected blackflies of the genus Simulium. More than 99% of infected people live in 31 African countries. The disease also exists in some foci in two countries in Latin America (the Yanomani area in Brazil and Venezuela) and Yemen. The Global Burden of Disease Study estimated in 2017 that at least 220 million people required preventive chemotherapy against Onchocerciasis, 14.6 million of the infected people already had skin disease and 1.15 million had vision loss Population-based treatment with ivermectin (also known as mass drug administration or MDA) is the current core strategy to eliminate onchocerciasis, with a minimum requirement of 80% therapeutic coverage. Four countries have been verified by WHO as free of onchocerciasis after successfully implementing elimination activities for decades: Colombia (2013), Ecuador (2014), Mexico (2015), and Guatemala (2016). Globally 1.8 million people live in areas that no longer require mass drug administration for onchocerciasis.

The course includes background information on skin-NTDs, epidemiology of onchocerciasis, pathogenesis and clinical pathology, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention, socioeconomic impact, and public health interventions.

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