Pan African Medical Journal

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Contribution and performance of female Community-Directed Distributors in the treatment of onchocerciasis with Ivermectin in Sub-Saharan Africa: A systematic review

MZ Vouking, VC Tamo, CN Tadenfok


The African Program for Onchocerciasis Control (APOC) was launched in 1995 with the main goal being to boost the fight against onchocerciasis in
Africa. In 2011, over 80 million people benefited from this intervention thanks to the contribution of 268.718 Community-Directed Distributors
(CDD). These significant results obscure the role of women CDD in this fight. Indeed, the insufficient involvement of female CDD has been identified as a concern by the APOC partners early in the program. The  present study aims to assess the contribution and performance of women
involved in a strategy to control onchocerciasis by community-directed treatment with ivermectin in sub Saharan Africa. We searched the following
electronic databases from January 1995 to July 2013: Medline, Embase (Excerpta Medica Database), CINAHL (Cumulative Index to Nursing and
Allied Health Literature), LILAS (Latin American and Caribbean Literature on Health Sciences), International Bibliography of Social Sciences, Social
Services Abstracts, and Sociological Abstracts. Two research team members independently conducted data extraction from the final sample of articles by using a pre-established data extraction sheet. The primary outcome was the contribution of female CDD in the control of onchocerciasis by community-directed treatment with Ivermectin. Of 25 hits, 7 papers met the inclusion criteria. For the management of onchocerciasis, female CDDs are elected by the health committee from the communities they will serve. The significant proportion of those treated (about 61%) were women, although only 24% of CDDs were women. Many community members  reported that women were more committed, persuasive and more patient than men in the distribution of ivermectin. Some studies have identified underutilization of female CDD as one reason for the limited effectiveness or, in some cases, pure failure related to the distribution of Ivermectin interventions in the fight against onchocerciasis in sub-Saharan Africa. Evidence from this review suggests that female CDD contribute to the treatment of onchocerciasis with Ivermectine in sub-Saharan Africa. Large-scale rigorous studies including Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) are needed to compare Community-Directed intervention involving men and women CDDs.
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