How to eliminate river blindness: lessons from Colombia

Colombia recently eliminated this neglected disease through health education and drugs. Sound easy? Here’s how other countries can follow suitMy homeland of Colombia recently became the first country in the Americas to wipe out onchocerciasis (river blindness) and the first in the world to be granted ‘verification of elimination’ status by the World Health Organisation. Colombia rid itself of the neglected tropical disease, that affects millions across 35 countries worldwide, through health education and use of the drug ivermectin.Eliminating a disease from a nation is complex. It requires community-based health education and sustained, heightened interventions including, increased drug treatments and enhanced monitoring and surveillance. Elimination means that the disease’s transmission h…

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