Prevention of Blindness and Visual Impairment

African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control (APOC)

From 1989 to 1994, the NonGovernmental Development Organizations (NGDO) pioneered mass distribution of ivermectin known as the Ivermectin Distribution Programme (IDP). As the result of this, the NGDO Coordination Group for Onchocerciasis Control was created in 1991 at the WHO Headquarters. However, building on the knowledge and experience gained in OCP, the sponsoring agencies and the NGDO Group launched, in 1995, a second programme to combat the rest of Africa 's river blindness named the African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control (APOC).

APOC is a bigger partnership programme than OCP including 19 Participating Countries with effective and active involvement of the Ministries of Health and their affected communities, several international and local NGDOs, the private sector (Merck & Co., Inc.), donor countries and UN agencies. The World Bank is the Fiscal Agent of the Programme and WHO is the Executing Agency of the Programme. The Community-Directed Treatment with Ivermectin (CDTI) is the delivery strategy of APOC. It empowers local communities to fight river blindness in their own villages, relieving suffering and slowing transmission. The programme which has been extended until 2015 intends to treat over 90 million people annually in 19 countries, protecting an at risk population of 115 million, and to prevent over 40,000 cases of blindness every year.

APOC countries: Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.

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