As per explained by PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases Journal, an organization which is devoted to the pathology, epidemiology, treatment, control, and prevention of the NTDs, as well as public policy relevant to this group of diseases, Schistosomiasis, which is one of the most prevalent neglected tropical diseases, has been a life-threatening public health problem in Yemen especially in rural communities for a great number of years, ever more so since 2011 uprising when the state institutions unravelled.
Schistosomiasis, which is also known as the snail fever is parasitic disease. This disease is most commonly found in areas where the water contains infected freshwater snails.
The World Health Organization established in August 2013 that an estimated 3 million people have been infected with Schistosomiasis in Yemen; a figure it warned in a report is most probably “an underestimate of the actual disease burden.”
Although it has a low mortality rate, Schistosomiasis, which can be easily treated and prevented is nevertheless a chronic illness that can damage internal organs and, in children lead to impair growth and cognitive development. Moreover, in adults the parasite can increase risks for bladder cancer. After malaria, Schistosomiasis has been classified as the second most socioeconomically devastating parasitic disease.
Since 2010, WHO and the World Bank have teamed up with the Yemeni government to eradicate the condition through treatment and prevention programs.
Earlier this week Yemen officials confirmed that over the past three years the government has managed to distribute over 18 million doses of praziquantel to cure patients. Since last March the level of infection has decreased by half, an achievement Yemen Ministry of Public Health and Population has been to highlight.
“This achievement is exemplary and reflects Yemen and its partners’ commitment,” Dr Lorenzo Savioli, Director, Department of Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases, World Health.
Yemen Deputy Minister for Primary Health Care Majid Al-Jonaid told reporters, “We plan to accelerate our campaign against bilharzia to change the lives of millions of Yemenis suffering from this disease. Today we have the means and the will to end this long cycle of suffering caused by this preventable infection.”