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River Blindness: A Success Story under Threat?

Basáñez, M.G., Pion, S.D. S., Churcher, T.S., Breitling, L.P., Little, M.P. and Boussinesq, M. (2006) River Blindness: A Success Story under Threat? PLoS Medicine, 3 (9). e371. ISSN 1549-1277


“The accomplishments of this Programme inspire all of us in public health to dream big dreams. It shows we can reach ‘impossible’ goals and lighten the burden of millions of the world's poorest people ….” These were the concluding words by former World Health Organization Director-General Gro Harlem Brundtland at the closure ceremony of the Onchocerciasis Control Programme in West Africa (OCP) in December 2002 [1]. The success of the OCP is so undeniable and exemplary, with 600,000 cases of blindness prevented, 18 million children born in areas freed from the risk of blindness, and 25 million hectares of land safe for resettlement, that river blindness is currently considered a disease of the past. This perception nonetheless forgets that OCP covered, at most, 1,200,000 square kilometers to protect 30 million people in 11 countries, leaving a remaining 100 million people in areas where active transmission of onchocerciasis still occurs. After its 28-year fight OCP may have won a battle, but a much more difficult task lies ahead before we can claim victory against river blindness [2].

Item Type: Article
Copyright, Publisher and Additional Information: © 2006 Basáñez et al. 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.
Institution: The University of Leeds
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Biological Sciences (Leeds) > Institute of Integrative and Comparative Biology (Leeds)
Depositing User: Sherpa Assistant
Date Deposited: 06 Nov 2009 12:17
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2014 04:08
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0030371
Status: Published
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Identification Number: 10.1371/journal.pmed.0030371
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/10103

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