World Health Organisation Regional Office for Africa

The Africa Region Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) Programme includes lymphatic filariasis providing technical orientation, support and guidance to Member States in the WHO African Region in order to contribute to the accelerated prevention, control, elimination and eradication of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) and Zoonoses.  

Vision: An African Region free of Neglected Tropical Diseases.

Goal:  To accelerate the reduction of the disease burden through the control, elimination and eradication of targeted NTDs and contribute to poverty alleviation, increased productivity and better quality of life of the affected people in the African Region— lymphatic filariasis and trachoma by 2020, advanced control of schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminthiasis by 2020 and onchocerciasis by 2025.Achievements, constraints, challenges and lessons learnt.

According to the 2019 Weekly Epidemiological Report in 2018, 341.4 million people in 32 countries were considered to require MDA. Data reported from 23 countries indicate that 211.4 million people were treated by MDA, for a regional coverage of 61.9%. A total of 56.2 million treatments were delivered in IUs co-endemic for LF and onchocerciasis in 14 countries. Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) implemented at least 1 of the recommended 2 albendazole-only MDA rounds in targeted IUs co-endemic for loiasis. Equatorial Guinea and Gabon remained the only countries in the region yet to start MDA.

Progress in the Region was evident, with an increase in geographical coverage from 71% in 2017 to 78.5% in 2018. Guinea Bissau and São Tome and Principe implemented MDA in all endemic IUs for the first time, and MDA was extended in Nigeria (510 of 553 IUs) and DRC (234 of 245 IUs), reaching >90% geographical coverage where MDA is still required. Zimbabwe was unable to implement MDA. Reports on MDA for LF are awaited from Comoros, Ghana, Kenya and Madagascar. Reports from Congo and South Sudan are under review. The cumulative reduction in the total population requiring MDA in the Region is 137 million people. To hasten progress in geographical coverage with MMDP, the WHO Regional Office held a workshop in Benin to strengthen capacity in morbidity management for NTD programme managers and other staff from 11 countries

Limited data on MMDP are available from 21 of 34 endemic countries. Reports on the number of lymph- oedema or hydrocele patients and the availability of care by IU are awaited from Angola, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, DRC, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, South Sudan, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The lack of data limits the ability to measure the availability and provision of MMDP in the Region and in the countries approaching the post-MDA surveillance phase, which poses an immediate challenge for documenting validation criteria.

The treatment regime in AFRO endemic countries is albendazole plus Mectizan in areas where LF is co-endemic with onchocerciasis and elsewhere with albendazole plus DEC (diethylcarbamazine).

The Africa Regional Programme Review Group (RPRG) is chaired by:

Ricardo Thompson
Bairro da Orli, N° 432,
Anexo ao Hospital Rural de Chókwè, C.P. 30,
Chókwè, Gaza              
rthompsonmz [at] gmail [dot] com

See WHO Weekly Epidemiological Report for the full detailed report