Global Launch at SASOG

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). Statement: 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... read more

PhD in Female Genital Schistosomias

The examiners of Dr Pavitra Pillay’s PhD thesis wrote: “I am highly impressed with the excellent quality…. this work is of vital importance for South Africa and should be heard by anybody interested cervical cancer”.  “The studies have been well planned and the candidate has done very nice and solid scientific work.” In her thesis Dr Pillay has shown how schistosomiasis can be a potential risk factor for the acquisition cervical squamous cell atypia and HIV. It is recommended that regular mass drug administration for schistosomiasis is implemented and public health interventions raising awareness of cervical cancer are instituted targeting young women and men in endemic populations. Title: “Female genital schistosomiasis (FGS) is a potential risk factor for squamous cell atypia and HIV among young women from schistosomiasis endemic populations” PhD registered: University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), South Africa Main supervisor: Professor Myra Taylor, UKZN Co-supervisors: Dr Eyrun F Kjetland, Oslo University Hospital, Norway/UKZN and Professor Lisette van Lieshout, Leiden University Medical Centre, The Netherlands Other supervisor: Professor Borghild Roald, University of Oslo, Norway  ... read more

Soil Transmitted Helminths (STHs) to be treated in National School Deworming Programme

South African Broadcasting Corporation:  The Departments of Basic Education, Health and Social Development have today officially launched the national school de-worming programme [for STHs with Mebendazole] at the Zimasa Primary school in Langa. The programme forms part of the integrated school health programme and will focus on health, education and the regular de-worming of children. The programme will be rolled out nationally to all Grade R to 7 learners in quintile one to three primary schools. The Department of Basic Education has partnered with the World Health Organisation and has secured seven million de-worming tablets that will be distributed to the children. Basic Education minister Angie Motshekga, says the schools chosen are all part of the departments pro-poor programme. Motshekga was joined by various stake-holders on a walkabout to the nurses’ rooms where the de-worming tablets and other  vaccines will be administered.   Five hard facts: Soil transmitted helminths (STHs) in South Africa constitute the worms A. lumbrocoides, T. trichiura, and hookworm. They cause tiredness and stomach problems. Further, these worms and have been found to contribute to cycle of poverty. Repeated treatment is necessary to curb the reinfections The school deworming programme will not treat Bilharzia which is the second most important parasite after Malaria in terms of public health impact in the world. Quintile 1-3 (of five in total) are the poorest schools in South Africa. These schools also have a school feeding programme. Mebendazole is the only the second best choice treatment for these STHs. For T. trichiura Albendazole should be given.   Literature Berge ST, Kabatereine NB, Gundersen SG, et al.; Generic praziquantel in South Africa: The necessity for policy change to avail cheap, safe... read more