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Schistosomiasis remains one of the most prevalent parasitic diseases in developing countries. After malaria, schistosomiasis is the most important tropical disease in terms of human morbidity with significant economic and public health consequences. Although schistosomiasis has recently attracted increased focus and funding for control, it has been estimated that less than 20% of the funding needed to control the disease in Africa is currently available. In this article the following issues are discussed: the rationale, development and objectives of the Schistosomiasis Control Initiative (SCI)-supported programmes; the management approaches followed to achieve implementation by each country; mapping, monitoring and evaluation activities with quantifiable impact of control programmes; monitoring for any potential drug resistance; and finally exit strategies within each country. The results have demonstrated that morbidity due to schistosomiasis has been reduced by the control programmes. While challenges remain, the case for the control of schistosomiasis has been strengthened by research by SCI teams and the principle that a national programme using ‘preventive chemotherapy’ can be successfully implemented in sub-Saharan Africa, whenever the resources are available. SCI and partners are now actively striving to raise further funds to expand the coverage of integrated control of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) in sub-Saharan Africa.
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