The University of Medical Sciences and Technology (UMST) housed and actively contributed to the establishment of the African Programme of Onchocerciasis (APOC).
This is the most successful WHO programme in public health. It started as a control then elimination programme in 19 African countries (MAP) then expanded to the West African countries which were included in a previous programme called OCP, oncho-control prog
ram. APOC was based on distribution of the microfilaricidal, Mectizan, (the chemical name ivermectin) to all African individuals who are at risk. In 2014, 90 million individuals were taking the drug.
Started in 1996 as control, but soon it was realized that regular administration of Mectizan lead to the elimination of the parasite in Senegal and Mali, refer to:
- Feasibility of Onchocerciasis Elimination with Ivermectin Treatment in Endemic Foci in Africa: First Evidence from Studies in Mali and Senegal. Lamine Diawara, Mamadou O. Traor?, Alioune Badji, Yiriba Bissan, Konimba Doumbia, Soula F. Goita, Lassana Konate, Kalifa Mounkoro, Moussa D. Sarr, Amadou F. Seck, Laurent To?, Seyni Tour?e, Jan H. F. Remme. PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases. July 2009;Volume 3, Issue 7:e497.
- Proof-of-Principle of Onchocerciasis Elimination with Ivermectin Treatment in Endemic Foci in Africa: Final Results of a Study in Mali and Senegal. Mamadou O. Traore, Moussa D. Sarr, Alioune Badji, Yiriba Bissan, Lamine Diawara, Konimba Doumbia, Soula F. Goita, Lassana Konate, Kalifa Mounkoro, Amadou F. Seck, Laurent Toe, Seyni Toure, Jan H. F. Remme. PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases. September 2012;Volume 6, Issue9:e1825.
The programme is intended to achieve elimination by 2025 in most of the African countries. UMST (was then the Academy of Medical Sciences & Technology (AMST)) through its President, Professor Mamoun Homeida, who was also a member of the Technical Consultative Committee (TCC) introduced the programme to Sudan especially South Sudan.
During the civil war there were one National onchocerciasis committee but with two branches, one which runs the programme in the Government held area in the North and part of South Sudan, and a Southern branch directed and run by the Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM) in rebel held areas.
The university with the help of APOC trained more than 250 health workers in the South and they were able to train a few thousands of drug distributors (called CDD or community drug distributors).
The UMST ran the programme from
1997-2002 Sudan was the only country within APOC in East Mediterranean Region (EMRO) of WHO while all other countries were in the WHO Afro region.
The Federal Ministry of Health delegated UMST to run the programme. UMST provided a venue a whole floor for the director and employees, lecture halls, seminar rooms for training and helped in running the finance and provided housing for all the resources. The students helped in training the volunteers.
The Carter Centre was the NGDO partnering with APOC and UMST in running the program in the Sudan.