This program began as a follow up to an NTD control initiative in Burundi funded by the Legatum Foundation, which concluded in 2012 and resulted in the significant reduction in the prevalence of schistosomiasis, hookworm, and trachoma. This program focused on carrying forward the trachoma prevention aspect of the previous initiative, and resulted in the International Trachoma Initiative deeming that levels of trachoma had dropped below the WHO threshold and mass drug administration was no longer necessary. The country is now in a “post-MDA” status and the focus has shifted to post-treatment monitoring to ensure that disease levels remain low. Burundi was also chosen as a pilot country to assess the potential of moving beyond control to the elimination of schistosomiasis.
END Fund Investment
In 2012 the END Fund launched a two-year initiative aimed at reducing the prevalence of trachoma below the WHO threshold of 10%. This program was in partnership with Legatum Foundation and CBM International, who have long been committed to NTD control in Burundi. The success of this program shows how private sector engagement, working in close partnership with the Ministry of Health (MoH) as well as both the scientific and technical community, can significantly contribute to the control and elimination of NTDs.
Program to Date
The program was based on the SAFE strategy (surgery, antibiotics, facial cleanliness, and environmental improvements), which combines prevention and treatment interventions for trachoma. Due to limited need for trichiasis surgery, the program focused on prevention. The program came to an end in 2013. However, the END Fund remains committed to trachoma elimination in Burundi and has guided CBM in developing a post-MDA strategy to ensure that disease levels remain low.