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The Unsung Hero of Neglected Tropical Diseases: Interview with Narcis Kabatereine


PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases

Public Library of Science

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      Resisting control of neglected tropical diseases: dilemmas in the mass treatment of schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminths in north-west Uganda.

      A strong case has recently been made by academics and policymakers to develop national programmes for the integrated control of Africa's 'neglected tropical diseases'. Uganda was the first country to develop a programme for the integrated control of two of these diseases: schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminths. This paper discusses social responses to the programme in Panyimur, north-west Uganda. It shows that adults are increasingly rejecting free treatment. Resistance is attributed to a subjective fear of side-effects; divergence between biomedical and local understandings of schistosomiasis/bilharzia; as well as inappropriate and inadequate health education. In addition, the current procedures for distributing drugs at a district level are problematic. Additional research was carried out in neighbouring areas to explore the generalizability of findings. Comparable problems have arisen. It is concluded that the national programme will not fulfil its stated objectives of establishing a local demand for mass treatment unless it can establish more effective delivery strategies and promote behavioural change in socially appropriate ways. To do so will require new approaches to social, economic and political aspects of distribution. There are reasons why populations infected with the 'neglected tropical diseases' are themselves neglected. Those reasons cannot just be wished away.

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        Public Library of Science, San Francisco, California, United States of America
        Author notes
        PLoS Negl Trop Dis
        PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
        Public Library of Science (San Francisco, USA )
        December 2009
        22 December 2009
        : 3
        : 12
        Gavin Yamey. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
        Pages: 2
        Infectious Diseases
        Infectious Diseases/Epidemiology and Control of Infectious Diseases
        Infectious Diseases/Helminth Infections
        Infectious Diseases/Tropical and Travel-Associated Diseases

        Infectious disease & Microbiology


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