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Control and prevention of neglected tropical diseases

Plan worker teaching women and children about the perils of Chagas disease. Chagas disease is the fourth leading cause of illness in Bolivia.
Plan worker teaching women and children about the perils of Chagas disease. Chagas disease is the fourth leading cause of illness in Bolivia.

Plan has a strong and long-term presence in developing countries with a high burden of neglected tropical diseases.

Although most neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) can be safely and inexpensively prevented and eliminated, they are often most prevalent in poor and marginalized communities that have little access to resources or health services.

Our approach to controlling and preventing neglected tropical diseases includes assisting Ministries of Health (MoH) to develop an integrated approach to NTDs, and collaborating with governments and community-based organizations (CBOs) to develop and implement programs providing NTD control services.

In addition to supporting government immunization campaigns including TB, diphtheria, hepatitis B, measles, yellow fever, tetanus and polio, we’ve also conducted global NTD control programs in Benin, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guinea Bissau, Haiti, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Niger, Pakistan, Philippines, Senegal, Togo and Zimbabwe:

  • In Bolivia, Plan partnered with the Department of Health Services to expand coverage of the National Program for the Treatment of Persons Infected with Chagas to all children under 15 years of age.
  • In Cambodia, informational network meetings between Cambodia’s national health advisers and health-related NGOs have allowed Plan and its partners to contribute to dengue hemorrhagic fever preparedness.
  • In Guinea, Plan and the MoH provided schistosomiasis treatment with Praziquantel (a de-worming drug) to 12,459 schoolchildren in response to the 2005 epidemic in the Gueckedou and Macenta districts.

Fighting cholera in Zimbabwe

In November 2008, Plan launched an emergency appeal to help children and families affected by Zimbabwe’s cholera outbreak, which killed nearly 800 people and left more than 15,000 infected.

Authorities declared it a national emergency. Hospitals were in urgent need of medicine, food, and equipment, and were critically short on staff. Plan was on the ground in Zimbabwe, working to help contain the spread of the disease and minimize the death toll.

In the districts of Mutare, Chipinge, and Chiredzi, we provided intravenous fluids, detergents, oral re-hydration solutions, drugs, and disposable gloves for the MoH’s emergency preparedness and response teams. We also provided 1,000 liters of fuel to Mutoko district’s civil protection unit to allow them to reach out to all communities that required urgent assistance.

In all areas where Plan works in Zimbabwe, water, sanitation and hygiene programs continue. Plan budgeted US$500,000 in fiscal year 2008 alone for drilling and rehabilitation of boreholes to provide safe water and reduce incidences of waterborne diseases like cholera.