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A Rationale for Schistosomiasis Control in Elementary Schools of the Rainforest Zone of Pernambuco, Brazil

By Tereza C. Favre, Ana P. B. Pereira, Aline F. Galvão, Luciana C. Zani, Constança S. Barbosa and Otávio S. Pieri


In 2001, a World Health Assembly resolution urged member states to ensure treatment against schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminthiasis in endemic areas with the goal of attaining a minimum target of at least 75% of all school-aged children by 2010. In the highly endemic Rainforest Zone of Pernambuco (ZMP), northeast Brazil, the Schistosomiasis Control Program has registered a cumulative coverage of only 20% of the population at risk, which jeopardizes the accomplishment of the minimum target for that area. Demographic and parasitological data from a representative municipality of the ZMP provide evidence that the current, community-based approach to control can be complemented with school-based actions. In the most troubled municipalities, individual diagnosis and treatment could be focused on school-aged children rather than whole populations without compromising the principles of the primary health care system. Local health and education teams should be encouraged to include school-based interventions to scale up coverage and achieve a rapid impact on infection

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