African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control (APOC)

Yaoundé Declaration on Onchocercaisis Control in Africa

The Yaoundé Declaration was signed by African ministers of health in 2006. It expresses a renewed commitment to work towards the elimination of onchocerciasis in all countries where it is a public health problem.

We, the African ministers of health, participating in the Special Summit of Partners of the African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control held in Yaounde, Cameroon, from 26 to 27 September 2006, to discuss the future of river blindness (onchocerciasis) in Africa,

Considering onchocerciasis as a major cause of poverty;

Concerned that, in spite of the efforts of the African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control (APOC), and before it, those of the Onchocerciasis Control Programme (OCP), over 120 million people in 19 countries still face the threat of river blindness;

Acknowledging that one obstacle standing in the way of successful onchocerciasis control has been the negative impact of conflicts in a number of APOC and ex OCP countries;

Recognizing that the movement of human populations and frequent social and political upheavals in the African Region have greatly increased the risk of transmission and/or re-emergence of onchocerciasis;

Concerned about the risk that more than US$ 1.5 billion already invested by donors, the countries and their development partners could be lost;

Noting the efficiency of APOC interventions;

Convinced that integration and joint implementation of community-directed treatment with ivermectin (CDTI) with other health interventions will effectively provide many health benefits to remote populations;

Mindful of the urgent need for a macrofilaricide with a view to accelerate progress towards the elimination of onchocerciasis in all countries;

  • EXPRESS our commitment to work together to accelerate the elimination of river blindness as a public health and socio-economic development problem in all countries;
  • Call for the intensification of control activities and surveillance in postconflict countries and countries with pockets of co-endemicity of onchocerciasis and loiasis (tropical eye worm);
  • ENDORSE the conclusions of the working group on the future of APOC and its recommendations to extend the life of APOC to 2015 and enlarge its activities to ex-OCP countries;
  • Affirm country leadership and recommend the establishment of national sustainable CDTI programmes in all onchocerciasis endemic countries of the Region;
  • Urge endemic countries to make annual budgetary commitment for onchocerciasis control activities as part of PRSP and in line with MDGs;
  • APPRECIATE the long-standing commitment of donors and NGDOs to onchocerciasis control and the pledge of Merck to continue providing ivermectin (Mectizan®) for as long as they are needed;
  • REQUEST donors and development partners to support MACROFIL research and onchocerciasis surveillance;
  • RECOMMEND strongly that APOC provide a scientific evidence base to determine the steps, the period and the area where ivermectin treatment could be stopped in close consultation with affected countries;
  • INVITE all those who share our commitment to subscribe to the present declaration.

Done in Yaounde this twenty-seventh day of September in the year of two thousand and six.