Zimbabwe’s health ministry is working with experts from the National Institute of Parasitic Diseases (NIPD) and the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC) to implement a schistosomiasis elimination pilot study in Shamva, a district north of the capital Harare.
Under the two-month pilot study which began in June, samples of urine, blood and feces were collected from villagers in Chavakadzi Ward, Shamva District, to determine the prevalence of the disease.
Tests were conducted and those with the disease were then contacted to receive treatment at a local clinic.
Speaking at a media familiarization field tour of the pilot study sites organized by the Ministry of Health and Childcare on Monday, Li Shizhu, deputy director of the National Institute of Parasitic Diseases, China CDC, said the pilot program seeks to completely eliminate the disease in Zimbabwe.
“Speaking of the elimination, it refers to zero locally transmitted human cases, zero infected livestock, and zero infected snails, which are the hosts of the diseases. In this process, China gets a lot of lessons and experiences, and a number of tools have been developed by Chinese scientists,” Li said at a media briefing during the media familiarization tour.
He said the project enhances the Chinese experts’ understanding of schistosomiasis and provides a platform to test the effectiveness of China-made products against schistosomiasis.
In an interview with Xinhua on the sidelines of the media familiarization tour, National Institute of Health Research Director Nicholas Midzi said Zimbabwe is set to gain valuable experience from China in eradicating schistosomiasis.
Midzi noted that the pilot program is being implemented in Shamva because the district has the highest burden of schistosomiasis in Zimbabwe.
The pilot study is China’s initial support to Zimbabwe, and will be followed by further support for a large-scale project, said Midzi.
The schistosomiasis prevention program is one of several China-funded initiatives underway in Zimbabwe for promoting public health.