Z’bar sees success in the fight against schistosomiasis

ZANZIBAR: FOLLOWING various preventive and control measures implemented by Chinese experts, schistosomiasis prevention and control work in Pemba has shown effectiveness in some areas.

This was explained by the Pemba South Regional Administrative Secretary (RAS), Mr Amour Hamad Saleh at the inauguration ceremony of the first Chinese-aided schistosomiasis ‘health education and popular science base’ held in Pemba Island on the 9th of April, this year.

Mr Amour Hamad Saleh stated that schistosomiasis prevention and control is a key focus of public health in Zanzibar and that high prevalence of schistosomiasis among key populations such as students has increased the disease burden in the entire region.

He expressed gratitude to the Chinese government for once again sending a group of experts to carry out on-site work in Pemba and thanked the Jiangsu Provincial Health Commission for its strong support.

Leaders including Mr Zhang Ming- Acting Consul General of China in Zanzibar, Mr Amour Hamad Saleh, Regional Administrative officer of Pemba Island, Abdalla Rashid Ali, District Commissioner of Chakechake and Khamis Bilali Ali, a health coordinator, attended the event.

Mr Zhang Ming, Acting Consul General, said at the event that since this year marks the 61st anniversary of China’s medical assistance abroad and the 60th anniversary of Jiangsu Province’s medical assistance abroad, as well as the 11th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative, his office is happy with the achievements.

He said that China and Zanzibar have long maintained friendly exchanges and conducted pragmatic cooperation in various fields such as trade, tourism, agriculture, education and health.

“The schistosomiasis prevention project in Pemba is an important part of implementing the Belt and Road Initiative and international development initiatives,” Mr Zhang said.

He also pointed out that students are the future of a country and play a crucial role in its development, and therefore expressed hope that the expert group of the Chinese aid project in Pemba will work together with the people, including students of Pemba to achieve the elimination of schistosomiasis as soon as possible.

He said that the establishment of a schistosomiasis health education system and a long-term working mechanism suitable for Pemba, will back the joint efforts to strive for the realization of a global community of health for all.

Huang Yuzheng, head of the schistosomiasis prevention and control expert group, said that the schistosomiasis prevention and control technical assistance project in Pemba is the first schistosomiasis prevention and control project aided by China overseas.

Mr Yuzheng explained that health education as part of morbidity control which is important in helping the population to modify behaviour to prevent the disease, to understand the meaning of health in contrast to disease, to recognize the symptoms of schistosomiasis and to use appropriately the available health facilities. He pointed out that establishing a health education and popular science base on schistosomiasis will help key populations such as students to understand relevant knowledge about schistosomiasis and change risky behaviors.

“It will also facilitate the dissemination of knowledge about schistosomiasis, enabling every individual and family threatened by the disease to have a correct understanding of it,” he emphasized.

Furthermore, he said it will be conducive to promoting universal participation and enhancing the health literacy of the entire population, thus contributing to the elimination of schistosomiasis in Pemba and creating a healthier future. After the inauguration ceremony, Zhang Ming proceeded to the site to inspect the work on snail control and other measures.

As a typical representative of China’s public health assistance abroad, the second phase of the Chinese-aided schistosomiasis prevention and control technical assistance project was officially launched in August 2023.

The first batch of expert groups has been working on schistosomiasis prevention and control in the local area for more than six months, achieving many prevention and control results.

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