The COVID-19 pandemic has led to the disruption of mass drug administration (MDA) programmes for onchocerciasis. This research paper uses mathematical modelling to predict how missed or delayed MDA programmes will affect short-term epidemiological trends and elimination prospects for onchocerciasis by 2030.
The results show that biannual MDA is more effective than increasing A proportion (%) that reflects the number of people receiving (an) intervention(s) divided by the total number of people eligible to receive the intervention(s) when it comes to mitigating the impacts of COVID-19. Countries and programmes with shorter (annual MDA) treatment histories should be prioritised for remedial biannual MDA.
Increases in microfilarial load could have short- and long-term repercussions on morbidity and mortality. Particularly in high-transmission settings with short treatment history, a 2-year interruption could lead to increased microfilarial load in children and adults. These results can guide decision-making to mitigate the (i) The total, direct and indirect, effects of a programme, service or institution on a health status and overall health and socio‐economic development. (ii) Positive or negative of COVID-19 on onchocerciasis elimination.
Read the piece here.