Fighting Bilharzia

The VIBE clinic is an institution recognised by the Department of Health and UKZN.  The project will do research into Bilharzia over a period of several years.
Bilharzia may cause chronic problems in adults. In order to try to prevent this the research group will focus on prevention by working with adolescents and children. The project is supported by the World Health Organisation and it receives international funding from several funders.
The University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) has successfully launched VIBE Youth Clinic together with seven international institutions. It is the first of its kind in Africa to address the gender-based health problem of Female Bilharzia in Ugu and Ilembe Districts but will also address other Bilharzia related issues.
The Bilharzia parasite infects 700 million people across the tropical sphere, causing serious disease in at least 20 million people. It is thus the second most important parasite affecting human health, after malaria. The parasite is waterborne, affecting for example women doing laundry or children bathing and playing in rivers.

Female Bilharzia is a previously under-recognised, neglected disease that may create contact bleeding, friable blood vessels, inflammation, ill health and risk for other diseases. In a project in South Africa, financed through the University of Copenhagen and Oslo University Hospital, we intend to collect evidence of the preventive effects of mass treatment on damages. The results of this project may have a major impact on the possibility of preventing suffering.

The objectives of the research project can be summarised into the following five key points:

  1. To investigate various diagnostic and intervention strategies for the control of Bilharzia, gender problems and susceptibility to other diseases
  2. To add value for the health and welfare in Ugu and Ilembe Districts
  3. To lift the scientific competence through joint activities
  4. To strengthen cooperation for the purpose of developing long-lasting and effective research

Eight institutions are participating in the work: