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Ann Trop Med Parasitol. 2008 Jan;102(1):45-51. doi: 10.1179/136485908X252241.

Factors affecting the attrition of community-directed distributors of ivermectin, in an onchocerciasis-control programme in the Imo and Abia states of south-eastern Nigeria.

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


In areas of Nigeria where onchocerciasis is endemic, community-directed distributors (CDD) distribute ivermectin annually, as part of the effort to control the disease. Unfortunately, it has been reported that at least 35% of the distributors who have been trained in Nigeria are unwilling to participate further as CDD. The selection and training of new CDD, to replace those unwilling to continue, leads to annual expense that the national onchocerciasis-programme is finding difficult to meet, given other programme priorities and the limited resources. If the reported levels of attrition are true, they seriously threaten the sustainability of community-directed treatment with ivermectin (CDTI) in Nigeria. In 2002, interviews were held with 101 people who had been trained as CDD, including those who had stopped serving their communities, from 12 communities in south-eastern Nigeria that had high rates of CDD attrition. The results showed that, although the overall reported CDD attrition was 40.6%, the actual rate was only 10.9%. The CDD who had ceased participating in the annual rounds of ivermectin blamed a lack of incentives (65.9%), the demands of other employment (14.6%), the long distances involved in the house-to-house distribution (12.2%) or marital duties (7.3%). Analysis of the data obtained from all the interviewed CDD showed that inadequate supplies of ivermectin (P<0.01), lack of supervision (P<0.05) and a lack of monetary incentives (P<0.001) led to significant increases in attrition. Conversely, CDD retention was significantly enhanced when the distributors were selected by their community members (P<0.001), supervised (P<0.001), supplied with adequate ivermectin tablets (P<0.05), involved in educating their community members (P<0.05), and/or involved in other health programmes (P<0.001). Although CDD who were involved in other health programmes were relatively unlikely to cease participating in the distributions, they were more likely to take longer than 14 days to complete ivermectin distribution than other CDD, who only distributed ivermectin. Data obtained in interviews with present and past CDD appear vital for informing, directing, protecting and enhancing the performance of CDTI programmes, in Nigeria and elsewhere.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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