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Evaluation of staff performance and material resources for integrated schistosomiasis control in Northern Senegal

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BACKGROUND A project to improve integrated control of schistosomiasis in the primary health care system of Northern Senegal was implemented from February 1995 until September 1999, shortly after a Schistosoma mansoni outbreak. The activities included additional training of doctors and nurses in symptom-based treatment and making praziquantel (PZQ) available for an affordable price.

OBJECTIVE To investigate staff performance and the availability and costs of diagnostic materials and PZQ at the end of this intervention project.

METHODS We performed structured interviews with staff from 55 health care facilities in five districts.

RESULTS Respondents from 23 health care facilities reported both S. haematobium and S. mansoni in the coverage area, 32 reported only S. haematobium and three only S. mansoni. The average cost to patients for consultation, diagnosis, treatment and transportation to a referral health care facility was approximately 1.60 Euro. Fifty-seven per cent of the health care facilities with reported S. haematobium in the coverage area treated patients presenting with haematuria on symptoms; 56% of the health care facilities with reported S. mansoni in the coverage area treated patients presenting with blood in stool on symptoms. Thirteen per cent performed a diagnostic test for patients presenting with haematuria and 12% for patients presenting with blood in stool. The remainder, approximately one-third of the health care facilities, referred their patients to another facility for a diagnostic test. Implementation of symptom-based treatment in all health care facilities will reduce the total costs by 0.43 Euro (29%) for patients infected with S. haematobium and 0.78 Euro (46%) for patients infected with S. mansoni. Of the 53 health care facilities with schistosomiasis in their area, 37 had PZQ in stock of which 33 (88%) sold PZQ for the recommended retail price of 0.15 Euro per tablet (or 0.60 Euro per course of four tablets) or lower.

CONCLUSION Four years after the start of the intervention project, patients presenting with schistosomiasis related symptoms can generally expect proper diagnosis and treatment at all levels of the health care system in Northern Senegal, either at the initial visited health care facility or after referral. However, a further reduction of the total costs of treatment is still possible by a better implementation of symptom-based treatment and further reduction of the costs of PZQ.
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Keywords: Senegal; disease control; integration; intervention programme; primary health care; schistosomiasis; treatment costs

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Public Health, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, 2: Programme Espoir, St Louis, Sénégal 3: Prince Leopold Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium,

Publication date: 2002-01-01

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