Landmark collaboration measures the impact of two successful public health interventions in Wallis and Futuna
Wallis and Futuna conducted a successful combined survey to estimate the prevalence of lymphatic filariasis (LF) and hepatitis B (HB) in order to measure the impact of control programmes for the two diseases.
This survey included 94% of all 1014 primary school students. Children of grades 1-5 were tested for Wuchereria bancrofti antigen and children grades 4-5 were tested for hepatitis B virus surface antigen.
Preliminary findings suggest that both programmes have met their respective disease-control targets. The LF positivity rate was significantly lower than 1%, validating the impact of the annual mass drug administration rounds administered from 2000 to 2006, and indicating that the rate of new infections is below the level of elimination of LF as a public health problem.
Similarly, the prevalence of chronic HB infection was lower than 1%, and three-dose vaccination coverage was 94%, providing strong evidence for achieving the HB control goal in the Western Pacific.
The success of the survey demonstrated the feasibility of combining activities that are normally implemented in parallel, thus saving resources and fostering collaboration across health disciplines.