700m at risk of schistosomiasis in 74 countries – Expert

Statistics based on the National Demographic Survey have indicated that over 700 million people are at risk of schistosomiasis disease in 74 countries across the world.

According to the statistics, 240 million people have already been infected with schistosomiasis across the globe.

The Sightsaver programme officer in Zamfara state, Ahmed Ibrahim, disclosed this at a press conference on Friday, at the end of the mass administration of medicine for the treatment and control of bilharziasis across the 14 local government councils.

He said the exercise was targeted school-age children between five and 14 years old, adding that based on the reports of the school-based treatment indicated that at least 900,000 pupils were treated for bilharziasis with sufficient tablets of Plaziquantel during the exercise.

“Schistosomiasis ranks second only to malaria as the most common parasitic disease, particularly common in sub-Saharan Africa, and it mainly occurs in poorer communities that don’t have access to clean drinking water or enough sanitation,” he said.

Ibrahim said the exercise was conducted between the Sightsaver in partnership with the Ministry of Health, SUBEB, Zamfara state Primary Health Care Board, Female Education Board, National Homegrown School Feeding Programme Zamfara state, civil society organisations and more than 1,765 head teachers from primary and junior secondary schools who administered the drugs on the children.

He urged parents and guardians not to allow their children to swim in stagnated ponds and water streams to prevent and control bilharziasis among them.

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