How OPC Fights Neglected Tropical Diseases in Chad

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OPC and Sightsavers are continuing their successful partnership to bring neglected tropical disease (NTD) medications to more people in Chad.

In Chad, Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) are widespread throughout the country, with all 119 districts endemic with at least one of the five NTDs that can be treated with preventative medications. The majority of people affected reside in rural areas or are migrant nomads.

Despite challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the abrupt end of the UK government’s ASCEND program, announced over the summer, OPC and Sightsavers’ collaboration continues the joint NTD program that began in Chad in 2019.

The program will improve treatment coverage for four NTDs – schistosomiasis, soil-transmitted helminths, onchocerciasis, and lymphatic filariasis – in seven regions in Chad. The goal is to provide equal access to treatment for all affected populations, especially those often overlooked for treatment. 

OPC has been working with the Ministry of Health and local partners in Chad for many years. Thanks to its longevity and expertise in the difficult-to-access country, as an implementing program partner, OPC is able to bring much-needed NTD treatments to vulnerable populations in isolated communities. 

The expansion of this program is made possible thanks to funding from GiveWell and the ELMA Foundation’s ARISE program. 

 

Program Objectives

The NTD program in Chad will:

  • Develop a NTD action plan for each of the 52 districts in the 7 regions incorporating the “Leave No One Behind” approach. 
  • Update 7 regional NTD plans incorporating the “Leave No One Behind” approach. 
  • Train 262 health workers on NTDs, including their transmission, treatment, and management. 
  • Train 262 trainers to analyze and identify “Leave No One Behind” risks and risk management. 

The schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminths components of the program are aimed to treat children. It includes a hybrid approach, with teachers distributing medications in schools and health workers distributing the drugs in communities to reach unenrolled children, ensuring no child will be left behind. The goal is to provide over 1.2 million drug treatments and treat over 1.15 million school-aged children. 

The onchocerciasis and lymphatic filariasis components are aimed to treat both children and adults, reaching 80% of the population within the targeted endemic districts with medications. The drug distribution will be carried out by community health workers, ensuring that no one is left behind. The goal is to reach 4.4 million people with treatment. 

To be the most cost effective, activities related to the four diseases will be integrated as much as possible.

 

Leave No One Behind

Too often, vulnerable groups like young children, the elderly, women, people with disabilities, nomads, refugees, incarcerated individuals, and so on, are systematically deprived of services like eye care because of biological and socio-cultural factors. These groups are at increased risk of exposure to NTD infection, and yet they also have more limited access to health care. 

To eliminate inequality to treatment and to sustain the gains made in the fight against NTDs over the past decade, it is essential that everyone receive NTD treatment, regardless of gender or socio-economic status. 

 “Leave No One Behind” is a very comprehensive approach that pays special attention to the groups that are often overlooked. It will be addressed during training sessions and developed in detail during the implementation of actions in the targeted districts. 

The “Leave No One Behind” approach and tools developed by Sightsavers will be used in Chad for the first time. 

The approach complements and puts into action the comprehensive, inclusive eye health care approach that lies at the heart of OPC’s actions.

You can help by making a donation to support OPC’s work – every gift makes a difference in our efforts to fight NTDs. And you can learn more about OPC’s work and subscribe to our newsletter so you never miss an update from OPC.