Community knowledge, satellite imagery, semi-nomadic sensitisation and outreach strategies were employed to deliver ivermectin and doxycycline treatments against onchocerciasis in a semi-nomadic population. Doxycycline was offered only when skin snip examination revealed infection.
We found that about 50% of the population has either left or joined the community within eight months; 59% of people not born in the area arrived during the last five years; 28% of those older than nine years reported never taking ivermectin; 72% (compared to 51% previously) of eligible population (≥5 years) took ivermectin; and 47% participated in skin snip test. A high proportion of participants– 15% were infected. All the infected individuals (20) were treated, and no infection was found in almost all those retested (9/10).
This study highlights a high rate of onchocerciasis and the challenges of offering continuous treatment for a prolonged period (>10 years) to a mobile population. It further demonstrates that combining ivermectin and doxycycline is preferable in a mobile population as it is curative and can be given only once.
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