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Tools to measure success of global bilharzia treatment programme

The Merck pharmaceutical company supports Schistosomiasis (more commonly known as bilharzia) treatment and prevention through an ambitious donation programme of its anti-bilharzia drug Praziquantel (PZQ). Merck has provided nearly one billion PZQ tablets to the World Health Organisation (WHO), which then distributes these to countries for mass drug administration in endemic areas.

However, Merck and WHO have concerns about the extent to which country programmes are able to effectively and economically distribute PZQ tablets to the target populations to achieve full coverage in achieving either the elimination or control of bilharzia.

Merck contracted Genesis to develop programme key performance indicators (KPIs) and an M&E framework to efficiently monitor correct tablet distribution and use at country and community levels.

To determine the quality and frequency of reporting, we reviewed the various reporting forms being used in the programme. We mapped the results chain to demonstrate the sequence of events for table distribution and the programmatic impact. We then collated a set of indicators that could be used to monitor and evaluate these events. The indicators were piloted in Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

A refined and final framework was presented to the Merck group and the Expanded Special Project for Elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases (ESPEN). It will be available for use by other African countries to improve the monitoring and evaluation of their PZQ programmes.

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