Liberia is a country in recovery from years of civil war and four of the five NTDs targeted by the END Fund are endemic. The WHO estimates that 80% of the population requires preventative chemotherapy against schistosomiasis, and intestinal worms could be prevalent in all 15 counties. It was not until 2012 that work to truly control NTD’s began with the creation of the Liberian National NTD Master Plan.
END Fund Investment
The Liberian NTD Department is working with the support of various partners including the African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control (APOC), the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), the Schistosomiasis Control Initiative (SCI), and the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), to implement a number of training, mapping, and treatment programs in the country. DFID, the largest bilateral donor active in Liberia, is supporting an NTD control program implemented by Liverpool’s Centre for Neglected Tropical Diseases (CNTD) and SCI that targets LF, schistosomiasis, and includes the delivery of drugs that treat intestinal worms.
Program to Date
In early 2014, the program shifted from a school-based deworming strategy (SBDW) for schistosomiasis and intestinal worm treatment to a community-based deworming strategy (CBDW) previously used for lymphatic filariasis (LF) and river blindness, in order to increase coverage rates. Not only will this new treatment strategy achieve better therapeutic coverage for schistosomiasis and intestinal worms, it will also be more cost effective, and will ensure more at-risk communities receive the drugs they need to reduce disease burdens. Currently, Liberia is tackling a public health emergency due to the Ebola outbreak and many priorities have shifted to control the outbreak of this deadly disease. The END Fund is working diligently with SCI to oversee the implementation of the new treatment strategy and is closely following the Ebola crisis unfolding in Liberia to determine the impact on NTD treatment efforts there.