Preparations to conduct a mass drug distribution against scabies and yaws drugs at the community level is underway.
As part of the preparation, a three days Training of Trainers (ToT) for the rollout of scabies and yaws drugs was conducted by the Ministry of Health.
Total of 45 participants comprising nurses, pharmacists, and health promotion staff from 8 provinces, including staff from the World Scabies Program and the Neglected Tropical Disease unit , a new program of the Ministry of Health participated in the ToT. Other provinces and individuals who could not attend physically, joined via zoom.
The training enlightened participants on the basic epidemiology and transmission of scabies and yaws, the purpose of control and eradication strategies, how to effectively communicate the importance of the mass drug administration, how to establish rapport and sensitization of communities to participate in the program, how to administer the medicines safely and correctly including proper screening of yaws lesions and how to perform yaws rapid test and skin scraps.
Other areas covered in the training include storage and management of medicines in the field to maintain quality, monitoring and reporting of adverse effects related to drugs and developing skills to train health workers on all aspects of conducting the yaws and scabies mass drug administration.
Overall the goal of the program is to reduce the chain of transmission of yaws and scabies and thereby its ‘prevalence in the country.
Scabies is endemic in the Solomon Islands and according to last year’s survey conducted in 10 villages in every provinces, the prevalence rate for scabies ranges between 4 – 72 percent with an average of 23.2 and 15.3 percent for severe scabies. This is a public health problem and if left untreated, the infection can lead to further health complications like heart and kidney diseases.
With yaws, more than 14,000 cases are reported from all clinics in the Solomon Islands through DHIS2, a health information management system, annually. Yaws if not treated, can cause disfiguring and deformities to the body.
As such the Ministry is grateful to have implemented the training with support from its partners.
The training was facilitated by the Ministry of Health with support from WHO and World Scabies Program (WSP) of Murdoch Children’s Research Institute which has an active memorandum of understanding with MHMS to support this initiative.