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Ann Trop Med Parasitol. 2004 Oct;98(7):697-702.

Missed treatment opportunities, for pregnant and breast-feeding women, in onchocerciasis mass-treatment programmes in south-eastern Nigeria.

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National Office, Global 2000 Program, The Carter Center, Jos, Nigeria.


During annual rounds of mass treatment against onchocerciasis, women who are pregnant or nursing neonates should not to be offered ivermectin. The aim of the present study was to determine how many women were not treated, as a result of this policy, in four villages in south-eastern Nigeria. Of the 1714 women of reproductive age present during the 2000 round of mass treatment, 599 (35%) were excluded because they were pregnant or nursing babies aged < 1 month. Most (56%) of the 599 excluded women were, however, treated individually later in the year. Of the 264 excluded women who did not receive a dose of ivermectin at all in 2000, 123 (47%) said they would have actively sought ivermectin treatment had they been made aware of the short duration of exclusion for nursing. If they had all known of the short duration of the exclusion and when and how to locate and receive treatment in their villages after the round of mass treatment, 91% of the women excluded from the round of mass treatment would probably have been treated later in the year. Better treatment systems, follow-up and health education, targeted at pregnant and lactating women, would improve treatment coverage of this group after parturition and early nursing.

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