Communities affected by onchocerciasis are the most important people in the APOC partnership. At the core of the APOC approach to eliminating the disease is CDTI – community-directed treatment with ivermectin. This approach relies on active community participation to distribute the ivermectin treatment to people who need it. Communities plan their own distribution systems and make decisions about how and when the ivermectin is distributed. They also decide which members of the community will be trained to deliver the treatment. The effectiveness and sustainability of treatment depends largely on them.
APOC is increasing efforts to empower and support communities to carry out CDTI. To promote the participation of more people, special attention is being given to develop strategies that specifically empower women and young people to become more actively involved. APOC is also placing more emphasis on involving community-based organizations, including women’s associations, religious groups, schools, and other civil society groups in planning, implementing and overseeing CDTI-related activities.