Recently, the Democratic Republic of Congo held its first NTD Sub-Commission meeting, led by the Ministry of Public Health (MSP) and presided over by Dr. Emmanuel Kitenge, Head of the Major Endemic Diseases Division and representing the Disease Control Directorate (DLM). The NTD Sub-Commission, which is overseen by the DLM’s Technical Committee on Disease Control (CTLM), plans to meet quarterly to guide NTD control and elimination activities in the country. DRC's Sub-commission is equivalent to the role of the NTD Steering Committee in other countries.
Held in Kinshasa, the meeting was attended by key members of the MSP’s NTD team and representatives from partners, including RTI International, CBM, HKI, and Lions Club.
The meeting was an important opportunity for the MSP and key partners to engage in strategic planning for NTD control and elimination activities, and to address challenges together. This first meeting focused on preparations for the MSP’s January 2014 NTD Partners’ Forum, including reviewing the terms of reference, the list of participants, and the agenda.
DRC is one of the most endemic countries for onchocerciasis, and is believed to be endemic for the other NTDs that are treated with preventive chemotherapy: lymphatic filariasis, schistosomiasis, soil-transmitted helminthiasis (whipworm, hookworm and roundworm), and trachoma. Substantial disease mapping is underway to establish baseline prevalence.
In fiscal year 2014, ENVISION plans to support trachoma mapping, lymphatic filariasis sentinel sites, the development of training and social mobilization materials for integrated MDA, and NTD advocacy training and materials development, with the NTD Sub-Commission playing a key role in the coordination of all of these activities.