Community attitudes toward mass drug administration for control and elimination of neglected tropical diseases after the 2014 outbreak of ebola virus disease in Lofa County, Liberia

Joshua Bogus, Lincoln Gankpala, Kerstin Fischer, Alison Krentel, Gary J. Weil, Peter U. Fischer, Karsor Kollie, Fatorma K. Bolay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

The recent outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) interrupted mass drug administration (MDA) programs to control and eliminate neglected tropical diseases in Liberia. MDA programs treat entire communities with medication regardless of infection status to interrupt transmission and eliminate lymphatic filariasis and onchocerciasis. Following reports of hostilities toward health workers and fear that they might be spreading EVD, it was important to determine whether attitudes toward MDA might have changed after the outbreak. We surveyed 140 community leaders from 32 villages in Lofa County, Liberia, that had previously participated in MDA and are located in an area that was an early epicenter of the EVD outbreak. Survey respondents reported a high degree of community trust in the MDA program, and 97% thought their communities were ready to resume MDA. However, respondents predicted that fewer people would comply with MDA after the EVD epidemic than before. The survey also uncovered fears in the community that EVD and MDA might be linked. Respondents suggested that MDA programs emphasize to people that the medications are identical to those previously distributed and that MDA programs have nothing to do with EVD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)497-503
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Volume94
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2016

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