At the Congress for South African Society for Obstetricians and Gynaecologists – there will be a global launch of the WHO Pocket Atlas for Female Genital Schistosomiasis (FGS).
Female genital schistosomiasis (FGS) is recognised as a gynaecological complication of schistosomiasis (Bilharzia) affecting approximately 150 million females globally.
There are no point-of-care laboratory tests for diagnosis. Key to diagnosis is visualization of the lesions by a trained health professional. Visualisation is enhanced with a digital camera and screen, or with a colposcope if available. Different forms of lesions include grainy sandy patches, homogeneous yellow sandy patches, rubbery papules and abnormal blood vessels.
This pocket atlas aims to assist clinicians to recognise the lesions and manage the patients. Administration of Praziquantel (single dose) prevents new lesions and morbidity. This is supported by the World Health Assembly Resolution 54.19 which calls for “treatment of clinical cases and groups at high risk of morbidity, such as women and children”.
The working group recommends that all health workers in schistosomiasis endemic areas who are attending to females should consider the diagnosis of female genital schistosomiasis. There is a biological plausibility of a link between FGS and the acquisition of HIV and HPV. A comprehensive history should be taken to identify other cases at risk, girls especially, and suspected cases should be treated with Praziquantel.