Review of Ethiopian Onchocerciasis Elimination Programme
Onchocerciasis is a severe parasitic infection which causes disabling skin and subcutaneous tissue changes. The disease is endemic in many African countries including Ethiopia. In 2013, Ethiopia launched Onchocerciasis elimination program with the goal of attaining interruption of onchocerciasis transmission nationwide by 2020. The country has successfully scaled up interventions and achieved 100% geographic coverage in all known endemic districts. The main strategy for interrupting the disease is mass drug administration (MDA) delivered two times per year. The treatment coverage for the last five years has been maintained at more than 80%. Despite many years of ivermectin MDA the transmission of onchocerciasis in many districts remained unabated. To achieve the 2020 goal, sustained high geographic and therapeutic coverage is required which is validated by coverage surveys. The programme should aim to improve the knowledge and attitude of the community towards the programme in order to improve drug compliance. The partnership between the relevant stakeholders should be strengthened to facilitate open discussions regarding the programme implementation and any challenges that may arise in the control and elimination of the disease. It is also important to consider intensified vector control.