Schistosomiasis Control Initiative

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Schistosomiasis Control Initiative
GenreMedical logistics, supporting and evaluating treatment programmes against schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminthiasis.
Founded2002; 17 years ago (2002)
HeadquartersImperial College London, ,
Area served
Sub-Saharan Africa and Yemen
Key people
Professor Alan Fenwick OBE (Founder), Dr Wendy Harrison (Executive Director), Dr Lynsey Blair (Implementation Director), Dr Fiona Fleming (Monitoring, Evaluation & Research Director), Najwa Al-Abdallah (Finance & Operations Director)
Number of employees

The Schistosomiasis Control Initiative (SCI), at Imperial College London, is a non-profit initiative that works with Ministries of Health in sub-Saharan African countries and Yemen. It supports and evaluates treatment programmes against schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminthiasis (STH).

These parasitic infections are part of a group called “Neglected Tropical Diseases”, which affect the poorest and most marginalised communities in the world. They can impair a child’s development, reduce school attendance and productivity, and even cause internal organ damage.

Estimates suggest that over 1 billion people are infected by these diseases. However, treatment is safe, effective and can reverse the damaging effects of infections, and costs as little as £1 for three people. In fact, the SCI has been recommended by the charity evaluator GiveWell, as one of the world’s most cost-effective non-profits to receive donations.

The impact of SCI-supported treatment programmes is observed quickly. The number of people infected by these parasites can be reduced by up to 60% after the first round of treatment and sustained below 11% after two rounds of treatment.

SCI continually conducts research to assess programme performance and investigate novel approaches to disease management. This ensures that control strategies are optimised and will ultimately lead to disease elimination.


In 2002, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundations Global Health Programme granted a £20 million award to establish the SCI at Imperial College London. SCI assisted the Ministries of Health and Education to deliver treatment for schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminthiasis in 6 countries, targeting school-aged children and adults at high risk of infection.

In 2006, the SCI was a founding partner of the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases which promoted integration of control or elimination programmes against seven NTDs.

By 2007, the SCI had facilitated delivery of approximately 40 million treatments of praziquantel against schistosomiasis, and many more deworming doses of albendazole.

In 2010, SCI expanded its reach after the award of the management of ICOSA - a programme funded by the Department for International Development (DFID). ICOSA delivered 203 million treatments against schistosomiasis and STH in 10 sub-Saharan African countries by December 2018.

In April 2013, SCI announced that it had facilitated delivery of its 100 millionth treatment of praziquantel against schistosomiasis thanks to funding from private donations which complemented the ICOSA award.

By 2016, SCI had reached an annual delivery of over 50 million treatments for schistosomiasis and STH.