In Kenya, onchocerciasis was originally endemic in six well-defined areas in the western part of the country. The African Institute for Health and Development (AIHD) in partnership with the Ministry of Health (MoH), Division of Vector Borne and Neglected Tropical Diseases (DVBNTD) held an elimination and control of STH/SCH and onchocerciasis workshop on May 11, 2023, at Lake Naivasha Resort, Nakuru County.
Onchocerciasis activities entail mapping, surveys, and preparation and completion of an elimination dossier for certification by WHO. The purpose of this meeting was to discuss and plan the onchocerciasis implementation agenda with the aim of coming up with dates for the development of the Onchocerciasis training manual and activities for the year 2023. The project will leverage on-going interventions, innovations, best practices, and lessons learnt while paying attention to ARISE 2, National and WHO guidelines and principles. Resource mobilization will be enhanced through advocacy at the national and county levels.
Onchocerciasis or “river blindness” is a parasitic disease caused by the filarial worm Onchocerca-volvulus transmitted by repeated bites of infected female blackflies (Simulium spp.) (WHO, 2022). These blackflies breed along fast-flowing rivers and streams, close to remote villages located near fertile land where people rely on agriculture. Infected people may show symptoms such as severe itching and various skin changes, develop eye lesions which can lead to visual impairment and permanent blindness and in most cases, nodules under the skin form around the adult worms (WHO, 2022).

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