KENYA— The Ministry of Health, in partnership with many several pharmaceutical companies, has launched a pioneering new treatment regimen for schistosomiasis called ‘Paediatric Praziquantel’, which is primarily aimed at children under the age of five.

Merck, Lygature, Unlimit Health, EDCTP, GHIT, and Astellas are among the companies involved.

This significant announcement was made by Dr. Sultani Matendechero, the Deputy Director General for Health at the State Department for Public Health and Professional Standards, during a high-profile meeting titled “Excellence in Research & Development: Shaping a Healthier Future for All.”

The meeting took place on the sidelines of the 77th World Health Assembly (WHA77) and aimed to highlight the primary objectives of this ambitious initiative.

This new treatment regimen represents a significant advance in the ongoing battle against schistosomiasis.

This new treatment regimen marks a substantial advancement in the ongoing battle against schistosomiasis.

Traditionally, the emphasis has been on school-age children, who are at high risk of infection due to frequent contact with polluted water.

However, the new programme broadens the treatment coverage to include younger children and adults, addressing the long-standing issue of reinfection.

The initiative’s goal is to obtain more widespread community coverage, which is critical for controlling and eventually eliminating schistosomiasis.

This collaboration is expected to significantly enhance the effectiveness of the Mass Drug Administration (MDA) strategy, which has been the cornerstone of schistosomiasis control efforts.

By ensuring that all age groups within the community are covered, the initiative aims to reduce the overall prevalence of the disease and prevent new infections.

Dr. Sultani Matendechero emphasized the initiative’s primary objective, stating that their goal is to improve access to medicine for vulnerable and neglected populations.

He highlighted the importance of ensuring that the fight against schistosomiasis includes all age groups within the community.

 “Our goal is to improve access to essential medicines for the most vulnerable and neglected populations, ensuring that the fight against schistosomiasis is inclusive of all age groups,” Dr. Matendechero stated.

This initiative builds on the notable strides made in combating schistosomiasis through the mass treatment of school-age children.

However, it aims to mitigate the reinfection risk posed by untreated pre-school-age children and adults, who have often been overlooked in previous campaigns.

By including these groups in the treatment regimen, the Ministry of Health hopes to break the cycle of reinfection and move closer to the goal of schistosomiasis elimination.

The enhanced MDA strategy will focus on achieving comprehensive community coverage. This is crucial for the control and eventual elimination of schistosomiasis, as treating only school-age children has proven insufficient in fully eradicating the disease.

Untreated younger children and adults serve as reservoirs for the parasite, perpetuating the cycle of infection within communities.

Furthermore, the initiative aims to integrate health education and community engagement efforts to ensure that families understand the importance of the new treatment regimen.

By raising awareness and promoting the benefits of the Pediatric Praziquantel, the Ministry of Health and its partners hope to achieve higher compliance rates and better health outcomes.

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