Thrasher Research Fund - Medical research grants to improve the lives of children

Project Details

Early Career

Status: Funded - Open

Determining the feasibility and health impact of integrating pediatric schistosomiasis treatment into the Early Child Development program

Lorraine Pfavayi, DPhil


BACKGROUND: Schistosomiasis is one of the major parasitic diseases affecting 50 million preschool-aged children (PSAC), in sub-Saharan Africa and symptoms of the disease include growth retardation, cognitive impairments and obstructive urogenital diseases. Despite evidence of early infections, exclusion from treatment programs and the absence of a child-friendly medication formulation create health disparities and hinder effective control efforts. GAP: Despite the several studies that have demonstrated the benefit of schistosomiasis treatment on the health of PSAC, PSAC are still excluded from national schistosomiasis control programs due to a lack of evidence-based strategies on how to access them. HYPOTHESIS: Integrating pediatric schistosomiasis treatment into early child development programs will lead to improved treatment coverage and health outcomes. METHODS: Employing a longitudinal design, PSAC aged 24-72 months enrolled in ECD programs will be recruited. Baseline and follow-up surveys for schistosome infections (S. haematobium and S. mansoni) and health assessments, previously utilized for studying schistosome morbidity and fungal dermatophytosis, will be conducted. RESULTS: Pending. IMPACT: The study findings will provide scientific evidence on the operational benefits of integrating schistosomiasis treatment into existing national ECD programs, thus, also paving the way for the deployment of the pediatric praziquantel formulation currently under evaluation by the European Medicines Authority and WHO.

Supervising Institution:
University of Edinburgh

Francisca Mutapi

Project Location:
United Kingdom, Zimbabwe

Award Amount: