National Schistosomiasis Control/Elimination Programme Review in the Philippines
Schistosomiasis remains endemic in 12 regions of the Philippines, covering 28 provinces, 190 municipalities, 15 cities and approximately 2,222 barangays (local communities). The total population at risk is approximately 12 million people, with 2.5 million individuals directly exposed to the disease. Recent surveys conducted through active surveillance by field schistosomiasis teams revealed a national average prevalence of 2.5% (0.04% to 6%) (DoH/Philippines, 2008).
The Philippines has made significant progress in schistosomiasis control and in working towards the elimination of the disease. However, there are still huge challenges both in technical matters such as the target population, snail control and the improvement of sanitation, as well as in programme management, especially with decentralization to local authorities.
In order to evaluate and assess the achievements of the control program, a schistosomiasis programme review was proposed for the said aim and also pose recommendations in the light of the global developments and directions in the Schistosomiasis Control.
The programme review team consisting of WHO staff (NTD/HQ, WPRO, and WR/PHL), colleagues from the Philippines Department of Health and the College of Public Health of the University of the Philippines. The team visited Mindoro Oriental, Leyte and Davao del Sur from 2 to 11 July 2012, observed how the mass drug administration (MDA) was conducted for schistosomiasis at community and school level, as well as interviewing key local authorities and local health officers. The team then participated in a consultative workshop with the regional and provincial schistosomiasis coordinators in Manila on 12-13 July 2012.
At the end of the mission, the team had a de-briefing with Dr Irma Asucion, Director IV, National Centre for Diseases Prevention and Control (NCDPC); Dr Mario S. Baquilod, OIC-Director III, Infectious Disease Office (IDO); Dr Leda Hernandez, Division Chief of Infectious Disease Office together with the IDO Team working on schistosomiasis program; and Dr Soe Nyunt-u, WHO Representative to the Philippines, on the findings of the mission and recommendations for the way forward, especially concerning elimination.