• Bilharzia and intestinal worms belong to the group of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs).
• The exercise was launched in Siaya by the PS Public Health Mary Muthoni.
The Ministry of Health has launched a Mass Drug Administration (MDA) exercise aimed at tackling bilharzia and intestinal worms in parts of Nyanza and Western.
This comes after an assessment conducted in the two regions and the Coast showed the need to carry out the exercise and interrupt transmission.
Bilharzia and intestinal worms belong to the group of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs).
The exercise was launched in Siaya by the PS Public Health Mary Muthoni.
The overall target of the ministry is to administer preventive deworming treatment to at least 18 million people residing in high-risk regions by the end of next year.
Health workers will move door to door and issue doses of Mebendazole for intestinal worms and Praziquantel for bilharzia during the campaign.
“In harmony with Universal Health Coverage (UHC) objectives, the government will deploy Community Health Promoters to educate communities on hygiene and sanitation practices, paving the way for the elimination of NTDs and other preventable illnesses,” Muthoni said.
Data shows that globally, more than 800 million people are at risk of bilharzia with 254 million already infected.
“In Kenya, the risk of Bilharzia affects over 10 million individuals. Concurrently, 1.5 billion individuals worldwide suffer from intestinal worms, with 20 million at risk within our nation,” the PS said.
Bilhazia, also referred to as Schistosomiasis is a neglected tropical disease and one of the most damaging parasitic diseases.
Bilharzia is caused by parasitic flatworms called schistosomes, of which Schistosoma mansoni and S. haematobium are the two major species.
The disease affects mainly communities without access to safe drinking water and with poor sanitation, with an estimated number of deaths of about 200,000 per year globally.
The parasites live within freshwater snails and infect humans by penetrating the skin.
The disease can lead to chronic inflammation of the organs, which can be fatal but also to anemia, stunted growth, and impaired learning ability with devastating consequences for the lives of young children.