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Schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminthiases in Cameroon

Guest edited by Louis-Albert Tchuem Tchuenté, Robert Bergquist, Russell Stothard, Amadou Garba, and Xiao-Nong Zhou

A thematic series in Infectious Diseases of Poverty

Schistosomiasis and STH in Cameroon © Prof L.A. Tchuem Tchuenté

The first nation-wide mapping of schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminthiases (STH) in Cameroon was conducted in 1985-1987. The surveys showed that STH was widely distributed across the country, while schistosomiasis was predominant in the three northern regions. Polyparasitism was frequent and many children were coinfected with two species of STH and/or schistosomiasis at least. Taking advantage of the renewed momentum for schistosomiasis in early 2000, the national programme for the control of schistosomiasis and STH in Cameroon was launched in 2003. Over years, significant progress in the control of these diseases has been realized. Between 2006 and 2019, more than 122 million cumulative treatments for schistosomiasis and STH have been delivered. These treatments have led to significant declines in infection levels, reaching up to 90% overall reduction of STH prevalence and 70% overall reduction of schistosomiasis prevalence.

Alongside control, considerable progress has also been made in fundamental and operational research, in collaboration with several national and international institutions with funding from BMGF, EU, KOICA, UK AID, USAID, VLIR and WHO. The studies covered several aspects from basic parasitological research to applied public health interventions that foster the control of helminthiases in Cameroon. At the same time, the importance of communications and community mobilization has grown to activate multisectoral partners. In 2017 and 2019, two international conferences on schistosomiasis and STH were organized in Cameroon, entitled “Towards Elimination of Schistosomiasis: a paradigm shift” and “Schistosomiasis and Intestinal Helminthiasis Week”, respectively. These events brought together scientists, experts, donors, health and education personnel, policy makers, non-governmental organizations, media professionals, and members of the community to discuss the research achievements, control progress, challenges and strategies to move towards the elimination of schistosomiasis and STH in Cameroon.

This collection draws together some of the articles resulted from the research and control of schistosomiasis and STH in Cameroon over the past decade, highlighting successful partnerships across agencies and disciplines.

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