The World Health Organization 2030 goals for onchocerciasis: Insights and perspectives from mathematical modelling

Maria Gloria Basáñez*, Martin Walker, NTD Modelling Consortium Onchocerciasis Group, Jonathan I.D. Hamley, Philip Milton, Claudio Fronterre, Sake J. de Vlas, Wilma A. Stolk*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


The World Health Organization (WHO) has embarked on a consultation process to refine the 2030 goals for priority neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), onchocerciasis among them. Current goals include elimination of transmission (EOT) by 2020 in Latin America, Yemen and selected African countries. The new goals propose that, by 2030, EOT be verified in 10 countries; mass drug administration (MDA) with ivermectin be stopped in at least one focus in 34 countries; and that the proportion of the population no longer in need of MDA be equal or greater than 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% in at least 16, 14, 12, and 10 countries, respectively. The NTD Modelling Consortium onchocerciasis teams have used EPIONCHO and ONCHOSIM to provide modelling insights into these goals. EOT appears feasible in low-moderate endemic areas with long-term MDA at high coverage (≥75%), but uncertain in areas of higher endemicity, poor coverage and adherence, and where MDA has not yet, or only recently, started. Countries will have different proportions of their endemic areas classified according to these categories, and this distribution of pre-intervention prevalence and MDA duration and programmatic success will determine the feasibility of achieving the proposed MDA cessation goals. Highly endemic areas would benefit from switching to biannual or quarterly MDA and implementing vector control where possible (determining optimal frequency and duration of anti-vectorial interventions requires more research). Areas without loiasis that have not yet initiated MDA should implement biannual (preferably with moxidectin) or quarterly MDA from the start. Areas with loiasis not previously treated would benefit from implementing test-and(not)-treat-based interventions, vector control, and anti- Wolbachia therapies, but their success will depend on the levels of screening and coverage achieved and sustained. The diagnostic performance of IgG4 Ov16 serology for assessing EOT is currently uncertain. Verification of EOT requires novel diagnostics at the individual- and population-levels.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1545
Number of pages16
JournalGates Open Research
Publication statusPublished - 26 Sept 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Grant information: This work was supported by the Bill and Mellinda Gates Foundation through funding to the NTD Modelling Consortium

Funding Information:
[OPP1184344 to MGB, MW, JIDH, CF, SJdV and WAS]. MGB, JIDH and PM acknowledge joint Centre funding from the UK Medical Research Council and Department for International Development [MR/R015600/1].

Funding Information:
We would like to thank Luc E Coffeng, Suzanne Verver, and Hugo C Turner for contributing to the work represented in this article. We thank Torey de Rozario, Simon Brooker and other members of the Gates Foundation NTD team for helpful feedback. We also thank Paul Cantey for valuable comments on the modelling priorities.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 NTD Modelling Consortium Onchocerciasis Group.


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