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  1. Yaya Camara,
  2. Bakary Sanneh
  1. Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, The Gambia


Background The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, The Gambia with support from WHO and Task Force for Global Health (TFGH), conducted a national endemicity mapping survey for schistosomiasis (SCH) and soil-transmitted helminths (STH) to establish their endemicity status. The survey was meant to provide baseline information on endemicity in order to plan and implement strategic interventions. This is a critical step towards NTD elimination by 2020.

Methods A cross-section of fifty school-aged children (SAC, 25 boys and 25 girls) per school was sampled in 209 schools countrywide. Eligible SAC of 7 to 14 years old were randomly selected using formula (n/50) where n=total eligible pupils per school. Stool, urine and finger prick samples provided, were examined for SCH and STH using Kato-Katz, urine filtration, dip-stick and CCA techniques.

Results National prevalence of schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminthiasis were 4.3% and 2.5%, respectively. At district level, Niani had the highest prevalence of SCH, recording 22%. Whereas for STH, Banjul, the capital city, had the highest prevalence, recording 55%, followed by 22% prevalence in Kombo South. Schistosoma haematobium is the most dominant parasitic infection in The Gambia. Fourteen (38%) districts in the country are co-endemic for both STH and SCH. Generally, male pupils are more infected with urinary schistosomiasis than females.

Conclusions It was established that 19 (45%) of districts mapped are endemic for schistosomiasis; thus the need for treatment with praziquantel. Twenty (47%) of districts mapped are endemic for soil-transmitted helminthiasis at varying rates. However, only two STH endemic districts, Banjul (55%), and Kombo South (22%), within the high and very high prevalence rates of endemicity, are eligible for treatment with albendazole.

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