African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control (APOC)

About us

The Programme was set up in 1995 to expand and build on the successes of the Onchocerciasis Control Programme in West Africa (OCP). The goal of the African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control (APOC) is to eliminate onchocerciasis as a disease of public health importance in Africa.

At the heart of APOC’s strategy to eliminate onchocerciasis is community-directed treatment with ivermectin (CDTI). This approach relies on active community participation to distribute ivermectin treatment. Communities plan their own distribution systems and make decisions about how and when the ivermectin is distributed. They decide which members of the community will be trained to deliver the treatment, and they also monitor the CDTI process.

At the end of 2012, more than 100.8 million (76.4%) people living in 24 African APOC country members received ivermectin treatment, of the 131 939 719 at-risk population to onchocerciasis in poor rural communities.

APOC’s achievements - (at December 2012)

Community-directed treatment with onchocerciasis
  • 100.8 million people receiving regular treatment in APOC countries
  • 184 560 endemic communities had implemented treatment activities in 24 countries
  • The partnership included 193 552 endemic communities (including those from the former OCP countries that reported treatment data), 31 endemic African countries, 20 donor countries and institutions, 14 international NGDOs and several local NGOs
  • Health interventions co-implemented with CDTI: 47 million people were reached with additional health interventions using the APOC network of with partnerships of trained health workers and CDDs
  • Training of community-directed distributors: 22 countries reported that a total of 677 699 community-directed distributors (CDDs) were trained and/or retrained, among which 23% were newly selected and trained
  • Training of health workers : 83.015 health workers at regional, district and health facility levels were trained or retrained in 2012 in 20 countries in Africa
  • 22 countries reported that distribution of ivermectin was carried out by 697 921 community-directed distributors (CDDs)
  • More than 1.8 billion ivermectin tablets delivered by communities (cumulative)
  • More than 522 million treatments provided by communities: 1997-2012 (cumulative)
  • 108 projects running in 16 countries; Intervention in 11 former OCP countries.
  • Treatment cost of annual ComDT with ivermectin: US$0.57 per person
  • Agreement reached to pre test CDI strategy in curricula of 52 faculties of medicine and nursing schools in Africa
  • Results of the updated health impact assessment carried out in 2012 (DGF progress report):
  • a reduction of the prevalence of Onchocerciasis infection by 61% (the number of persons infected of 39.9 million drop to 15.7 million
  • a reducción of the prevalece of severe itching by 66%
  • a reduction of the prevalence of oncho blindness by 50% (Note blindness is not cured, but treatment prevent/reduce ocular lesions leading to blindness, so no new cases are recorded)
  • Number of disease cases prevented related to APOC operations as at 2011:
  • Infection: 24.2 million; severe itching: 9.8 million; low vision: 500,000; blindness: 300,000.
  • Number of DALYs saved : 1,300,000 in 2011
  • Cumulative total of DALYs saved up to 2011: 9.8 million

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