29 January 2018

SCI collaborates with WASH partners to eliminate schistosomiasis in Madagascar

UNICEF’s water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and schistosomiasis control partners met in Madagascar to determine ways to combine efforts to eliminate schistosomiasis. 

Recent figures show that less than half of the population of Madagascar has access to safe drinking water, and only one in ten has access to hygienic sanitation facilities. 

The Schistosomiasis Control Initiative (SCI), at Imperial College London, has been supporting treatment programs against schistosomiasis in Madagascar since 2014, and has been successful in treating 2.9 million school-age children to date. However, 7.8 million (of all ages) are estimated to remain infected and to require treatment. 

Due to their low cost, treatment programs against schistosomiasis are one of the most cost-effective solutions for bringing the disease under control in a relatively short space of time. However, without continued treatment in areas of poor sanitation, together with clean water, the disease will quickly bounce back to pre-intervention levels. 

With coordination by the Ministries of Health (MoH), representatives from the schistosomiasis and WASH communities met on 28th September, including those from SCI, UNICEF-WASH, Ministry of Education and the World Health Organization. They discussed ways in which they could collaborate to achieve shared goals in improving sanitation and providing access to clean water, in areas that need it most. 

Dr Sarah Nogaro, SCI's Programme Advisor for Madagascar, said: "This is the start of an exciting new collaboration between the health and WASH sector in Madagascar. Combining efforts from both sectors will mean the synergy will be even greater, and a leap forward in reaching the targets set out in the UN Sustainable Development Goals. This cross-sectoral partnership also aligns with the holistic policy approach within the Sustainable Development Goals."  

WASH and schistosomiasis control partners, with the Madagascar Ministry of Health team