African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control (APOC)

Dr Uche Amazigo, retired Director of the African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control - APOC. (2005-2011)

Dr Uche Amazigo, retired Director of the African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control (2005-2011) was a former university lecturer, a biologist with training in public health and parasitology and specialized in tropical diseases. Dr Amazigo is much honored for her leadership and professional accomplishment, assembly of scientists and expert staff resonant for the multiple studies she conducted to shed greater light on the causes and effect of river blindness.

Dr Amazigo's original contribution was the effectiveness of community driven projects as the best way to empower Africans to overcome their own health burden. ''It is thus crucial to develop means of two-way communications with these communities'' suggested Dr Amazigo. This ameliorated community distribution concept paved the way for the Community-Directed Treatment with Ivermectin (CDTI). At present, CDTI heralds a new dimension in public health. APOC has been and continues to be an extraordinary venture in public health. The commitment of communities, partners and the organizations sustaining it, may well see the disease eliminated globally as a public health problem in the not too distant future.

Dr Amazigo received many professional honors including the honor and distinction as “Knight of the National Order of Burkina Faso'' where she served as a World Health Organization Officer. The qualities of her work, a firebrand professional, teacher and mother, revered by all her collaborators has not reached its end yet. It will continue to produce useful results for many more years to come.

Dr Margaret Chan resounded that, ''For 15 years, the progressive, and most impressive success of the African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control has empowered communities to take charge of their own health, especially in the rural areas. Thanks to APOC's community-directed intervention strategy, large populations in Africa have helped themselves to better health in an efficient and sustainable way''.