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WB backs tropical diseases project in Africa with $121m

WASHINGTON, June 12, 2015

The World Bank Group has approved a $121 million credit and grant to support the Sahel Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases Project in Africa, according to a report.

It aims to increase access to community-level health services to prevent and treat cases of malaria and neglected tropical diseases, said the Emirates News Agency (WAM) report.

The project will be implemented in three countries in the Sahel region -Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger and will benefit an estimated 3.7 million people, it said.

Africa’s Sahel region is home to more than 80 million people, and a large proportion of the population lives more than five kilometers from a health centre.

An estimated 88 per cent of trachoma cases in Africa are in the Sahel, as are 59 per cent of lymphatic filariasis cases, 50 per cent of schistosomiasis cases, and 49 per cent of onchocerciasis cases.

Countries in the Sahel also bear a disproportionate burden of malaria which is the primary cause of death in young children and primary reason for outpatient visits to health centres and hospitalisation.

"The control and elimination of malaria and neglected tropical diseases is a regional public good as these diseases don?t respect national boundaries," Colin Bruce, World Bank director of Regional Integration for the Africa Region, was quoted as saying.

"By supporting regional collective actions, this project will enhance disease control strategies to eliminate and reduce the spread of malaria and neglected tropical disease along international borders in endemic areas, helping to boost livelihoods for the millions of families in Africas Sahel region,” he said.

The project will focus on scaling up disease control interventions at the community level in cross-border areas in the three countries. Other countries may join during project implementation.

For malaria this includes community-based diagnosis and treatment and seasonal malaria chemoprevention for young children. For NTDs this includes integrated treatment of five preventable NTD through mass drug administration one to two time per year, and treatment of the reversible consequences of NTDs (trichiasis and hydrocele) in mobile surgical camps staffed by doctors and nurses from all three countries. .

The project will support countries’ efforts to harmonise policies and procedures, and countries will be empowered to engage in joint planning, implementation and evaluation of programme activities across borders at regional, national and district levels, said the report.

By focusing on community-based interventions, the project will provide an opportunity to improve the quality and efficiency of community-health delivery platforms where most of the poor rural families in the Sahel go for health services, it added.




Tags: project | Bank | Malaria | Disease | world | grant | Sahel |

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