The meeting which was funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) attracted District Medical Officers, Neglected Tropical Diseases Focal Persons, School Health Persons, District Nutritionists and Health NGOs interested in deworming countrywide.
The Deputy Chief Medical Officer II, Dr. Amara Jambai said the meeting is to share result and plans for future strategies to maintain the achievements and reach control for soil transmitted helminths (deworming) in all communities nationwide as the Neglected Tropical Diseases and other programmes transition over the next four years.
He informed his audience that since 2008, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through Helen Keller International (HKI) has supported the Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) programme of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation to control or eliminate Neglected Tropical Diseases in Sierra Leone including Soil Transmitted Helminthes.
He said the results of a national survey conducted in 2016 showed a significant reduction in soil transmitted helminthes prevalence in all 14 health districts compared to the baseline in 2008/2009.
Dr. Jambai reiterated that eight health districts have reached control with prevalence less than 20 percent and six health districts have reached moderated level of infections between 20 and 50 percent.
Giving the objective of the meeting, the Programme Manager, Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), Dr. Yakuba Madina Bah said the objective is to share the results of achievement made in soil transmitted helminthes control through various strategies.
He said it is to plan for future strategies to maintain soil transmitted helminthes achievements and reach control in all communities nationwide as the Neglected Tropical Diseases and other programmes transition over the next four years.
In her presentation on Soil Transmitted Helminthes control in Sierra Leone, the Country Director, Helen Keller International (HKI), Dr. Mary Hodges said there are three main types of Soil Transmitted Helminthes: Roundworm, Whipworm and Hookworm.
Dilating on the Soil Transmitted Helminthes control strategies to date, she said annual Mass Drug Administration of Ivermectin for Onchocerciasis for everyone over five years started in 2003.
She informed her audience that they have been giving twice yearly deworming of pre-school aged children since 2006, annual Mass Drug Administration of Ivermectin plus Albendazole for “big fut” started in 2007 and also deworming of pregnant women at first visit in second trimester.
Other speakers include the Director of Disease Prevention and Control, Dr. Foday Dafae and the Director of Primary Health Care, Dr. Joseph Kandeh.