Ivermectin mass distribution for the control of onchocerciasis in Uganda began in 1991. This report describes a community based ivermectin distribution programme covering two foci in the Kabarole district which have an estimated 32,000 persons infected and another 110,000 at risk. Through nodule palpation in adult males, 143 villages were identified where nodule prevalence exceeded 20%. Skin snips were also taken from a sample of the population to measure changes in community microfilarial load (CMFL) with treatment. The delivery programme was integrated into the district health management structure, and used community volunteers supervised by medical assistants from adjacent heath facilities for annual ivermectin distribution campaigns. After initial efforts by the community to support distributors in-kind proved inadequate, ivermectin distributors earned money retailing condoms as part of the social marketing component of a district STD/AIDS programme. Reduction in the CMFL ranged from 40-62% twelve months after the second ivermectin treatment in three villages, and from 69-84% six months after the fourth round of treatment in two villages. After four years of treatment, 85% of eligible persons were receiving ivermectin from community volunteers in each treatment cycle. Drop out rates among volunteers did not exceed 20% over the four years reported here. The direct cost of treatment was US$0.29 per person. Among the reasons for low per-person treatment costs were the strong supervisory structure, the presence of health centres in the foci and a well developed and capable district Primary Health Care management team.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Policy