Co-Investment in Kenya – working together to target STH and Schistosomiasis in school-aged children
Like many countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Kenya is endemic for all five NTDs targeted by the END Fund. The WHO estimates that over 30 million people are at risk of schistosomiasis, over 15 million are at risk of soil-transmitted helminths (STH) and over three million people are at risk of lymphatic filariasis. The negative effects of these diseases on school-age children is devastating, and STH infection alone contributes to stunted growth, impaired cognitive development, malnutrition, anemia and disruption in school attendance. The impact of deworming programs has been well documented, and a study by Kremer et al. (2004) in Kenya illustrated that when younger children (standards 1-4) are dewormed their school attendance increased by 15 days per year, and in older children school attendance increased by ten days per year.
In 2011, Kenya’s Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation launched a five-year national integrated NTD control plan that aims to reduce NTD prevalence to management levels by 2020. An integral part of the NTD plan is the Kenyan National School-Based Deworming Program, which is led by the Ministry of Education in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation and the Kenya Medical Research Institute. Donations through Deworm the World, from the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), enabled the National School-Based Deworming Program to ensure treatment for STH and schistosomiasis among school-aged children in areas of the country where STH was endemic. Experts at the Kenya Medical Research Institute estimated that there were an additional 170,000-180,000 children in need of schistosomiasis treatment living outside of the program’s target areas, and therefore there was a need to expand the reach of the program. A strategic investment from the Campbell Family Foundation enabled the END Fund to increase the impact of the Kenyan School-Based Deworming Program by co-investing with CIFF. Deworm the World is now working with the Kenyan National School-Based Deworming Program to target all school-age children at risk of STH and/or schistosomiasis throughout the country.
Fighting blindness – a comprehensive approach to reducing (and eliminating) the burden of blinding trachoma
In 2007, one of the END Fund’s founding partners, the Legatum Foundation, launched a strategic $1.5m initiative in Zambia’s Luapula Valley to combat preventable blindness. The Luapula Valley is sometimes referred to at the "Valley of the Blind" and the high burden of preventable blindness is not due to genetics, but is a symptom of extreme poverty. The blindness that affects so much of the population is caused by lack of access to adequate health services, malnutrition, vitamin deficiency, and poor access to both clean water and sanitation.
By designing an integrated initiative focused on improving access to health services, health education information, clean water and sanitation, the initiative has significantly improved the lives of thousands of people. In 2012, 1,400 people received trichiasis surgery, 31,000 people were diagnosed and treated for a range of eye conditions, and 12,000 people gained access to clean water. In-country partners coordinated activities to ensure a comprehensive approach was used to implement the WHO trachoma SAFE strategy (Surgery to reverse trichiasis and preserve sight; Antibiotics to rid the body of active infection; Facial cleanliness to prevent person-to-person transmission; and Environmental improvements to improve both hygiene and sanitation, and prevent flies from breeding in human feces). While one implementing partner worked with the health sector to develop an integrated referral and treatment network for those in need of clinical treatment (such as trichiasis surgery), the other three partners worked together to provide prevention-related interventions such as undertaking community health education initiatives, delivering vitamin A supplements, and improving hygiene and sanitation by building wells and latrines, and organizing education sessions for the local community about the importance of hand and face washing.
The END Fund is proud to be the Legatum Foundation’s partner and is working to ensure the successful Luapula Valley initiative continues to positively impact the lives of thousands of people and that blinding trachoma is eliminated by 2020.