Lessons Learned in Conducting Mass Drug Administration for Schistosomiasis Control and Measuring Coverage in an Operational Research Setting

Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2020 Jul;103(1_Suppl):105-113. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.19-0789.


The Schistosomiasis Consortium for Operational Research and Evaluation (SCORE) was created to conduct research that could inform programmatic decision-making related to schistosomiasis. SCORE included several large cluster randomized field studies involving mass drug administration (MDA) with praziquantel. The largest of these were studies of gaining or sustaining control of schistosomiasis, which were conducted in five African countries. To enhance relevance for routine practice, the MDA in these studies was coordinated by or closely aligned with national neglected tropical disease (NTD) control programs. The study protocol set minimum targets of at least 90% for coverage among children enrolled in schools and 75% for all school-age children. Over the 4 years of intervention, an estimated 3.5 million treatments were administered to study communities. By year 4, the median village coverage was at or above targets in all studies except that in Mozambique. However, there was often a wide variation behind these summary statistics, and all studies had several villages with very low or high coverage. In studies where coverage was estimated by comparing the number of people treated with the number eligible for treatment, denominator estimation was often problematic. The SCORE experiences in conducting these studies provide lessons for future efforts that attempt to implement strong research designs in real-world contexts. They also have potential applicability to country MDA campaigns against schistosomiasis and other NTDs, most of which are conducted with less logistical and financial support than was available for the SCORE study efforts.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Africa
  • Animals
  • Anthelmintics / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Drug Administration*
  • Mozambique
  • Neglected Diseases / drug therapy
  • Neglected Diseases / prevention & control
  • Praziquantel / therapeutic use
  • Prevalence
  • Public Health
  • Rural Population
  • Schistosoma
  • Schistosomiasis / drug therapy*
  • Schistosomiasis / prevention & control
  • Schools


  • Anthelmintics
  • Praziquantel