Once inside the human body, the larvae develop into adult worms and the eggs they lay can become trapped in the body’s tissues.
At first, there are often no symptoms of schistosomiasis, but the parasite can remain in the body for many years and can cause more serious problems. This NTD can cause itchy rashes, abdominal pain and diarrhoea, and can lead to serious long-term problems affecting the digestive, urinary, respiratory and nervous systems.
Schistosomiasis is particularly common in sub-Saharan Africa, and mainly occurs in poorer communities that don’t have access to clean drinking water or adequate sanitation. Unfortunately, poverty is both a cause and consequence of the poor health caused by schistosomiasis. In children the disease can cause anaemia and stunted growth, and can affect their ability to learn. Many infected adults are unable to work, leading to economic hardship.
Our schistosomiasis treatment programmes specifically target school-age children and adults considered at risk, such as fishermen, living in endemic regions. In areas with very high rates of infection, entire communities may be treated through mass drug administration.
Sightsavers and partners also encourage non-drug-based practices such as water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) initiatives.
In 2021, Sightsavers and partners helped to provide more than 26 million treatments for schistosomiasis across Cameroon, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria.
We also trained more than 450,000 local volunteers to distribute medication to treat a range of NTDs, including schistosomiasis.
Sightsavers works with GiveWell to deliver cost-effective treatments for schistosomiasis and intestinal worms.Our work with GiveWell
Sightsavers has been awarded $16.9 million to continue and expand its deworming work, after a funding recommendation from US charity evaluator GiveWell.
Charity evaluator GiveWell has provided a further US$7.8 million to fight intestinal worms and schistosomiasis in Nigeria and Cameroon.
Ndellejong Cosmas Eljong, Sightsavers’ technical adviser for schistosomiasis and intestinal worms, tells us via video about his work to fight parasitic worm infections and how deworming can have a huge impact on communities around the world.
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