Dr.Uche Veronica Amazigo
Former Director, African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control (APOC), World Health Organization (WHO),
Federal Republic of Nigeria
Dr. Uche Veronica Amazigo is considered a leading figure in the introduction and application of community-directed treatment and control of important diseases. She developed a model that made it possible for community members to play a role in distributing medicine to the affected population. Dr. Amazigo is instrumental in the success of the control of Onchocerciasis (river blindness) in strengthening community health system in 500,000 communities across 19 countries covered by the African Programme on Onchocerciasis (APOC) of the World Health Organization, especially while she was Director of the Programme from 2005-2011. This approach changes the effectiveness of the treatment, is cost-effective and tremendously increases the coverage of patients being treated by drug, as it proved that community members can also take on the role normally played by more highly trained healthcare specialists. The concept of community-directed treatment has then been implemented in several countries across Africa and around the world. In 2015, an estimate of 90 million people will regularly receive the treatment for Onchocerciasis and 40,000 people will be prevented from risking the disease annually.
The success of this community-directed approach results from linking research and management strategies and by empowering communities to fully participate in distributing medicine to the affected population.
Although community-directed treatment was introduced as a strategy to increase coverage and access to drug in Onchocerciasis, it went on to have impacts on the control of other diseases and essential healthcare services in Africa. It was estimated that the community-directed treatment benefited over 11 million people in Africa, with malaria control and another 37 million people from other types of diseases.
Dr. Amazigo received Ph.D. in Biology and Medical Parasitology from the Univesity of Vienna in Austria, Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Parasitology from the Bernhard-Nocht Institute of Tropical Medicine in Hamburg, Germany and Fellowship in International Health from Harvard School of Public Health, U.S.A.