African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control (APOC)

Tribute to Mrs. Dominique Coste

It is with great sadness that we learnt of the passing away of Mrs. Dominique Coste on 04 November 2009 in Cameroon. Mrs. Coste was, until her death, the Central Africa/Indian Ocean Representative of Lions Club International Foundation/Sight First and passionately supported onchocerciasis control efforts in Cameroon for 15 years.

Sight First has been a strategic partner in the national NGDO coalition for Onchocerciasis control in Cameroon comprising the Carter Center, Helen Keller International, International Eye Foundation, Perspective and Sight Savers International.

In 1992, Mrs. Coste requested financing from the Sight First programme of Lions Club International Foundation (LCIF) to assist the Ministry of Public Health of Cameroon (MINSANTE) to set up programmes to distribute Mectizan in the whole country using the Community-Directed Treatment with Ivermectin (CDTI) strategy.

In 1995, she signed a protocol agreement with MINISANTE and Sight First/NGDO coalition to support onchocerciasis control efforts in the country. This project was to have lasted for five years but is now in its 12th year with more than five billion CFA Francs in funding obtained from LCIF.

First Sight in 2003 signed an agreement with the Mectizan Donation Programme for the monitoring of serious adverse events following Mectizan treatment, and scaling up of Filariasis research in Cameroon.

In 2006, LCIF/Sight First undertook a new project to support Onchocerciasis control in Cameroon until 2010, and in 2008 an Agreement framework was signed with MINISANTE for the control of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs).

Through the partnership with Sight First and under the leadership of Mrs Coste, more than 20 million treatments have been carried out in more than 8000 hyper- and meso-endemic communities (villages) in eight out of the ten regions of Cameroon.

Mrs Coste will be sorely missed by the Onchocerciasis control programme in Cameroon in particular and the NTD control programmes in general. On behalf of the Oncho family, the Director and staff of APOC extend their deepest sympathy to the family of Mrs. Coste with the hope that they will be consoled by the legacy of her good works.