Saturday, March 17, 2012
Burkina Faso: APOC and River Blindness
So, why did we go to Burkina Faso? I had to attend annual meeting of APOC, the African Program for Onchocerciasis Control at APOC´s headquarters in Ouagadougou. Onchocerciasis or Oncho is the name of the parasitic worm that causes River Blindness. I attended the conference to meet people and find ways to expand our current River Blindness project in Kuando Kubango province.
Oncho is transmitted by the black fly that lives and breeds in fast-moving rivers - right where farmers want to be. Infection can cause painful itching and eventually the worms can lead to blindness. There is a drug - called Mectizan - that can cure infection (though not blindness). If an entire community takes the drug once a year for several consecutive years, the parasite can be eliminated from the environment.
Below is a short video that describes the Oncho project pretty well: