Development of a Community-Based Approach to Opisthorchiasis Control


A liver fluke, Opisthorchis viverrrini (OV), is the major cause of the high incidence of cholangiocarcinoma inNorth-eastern Thailand. The prevalence of OV infection remains high in various parts of the country, especiallyin wetland rural areas where a large proportion of the community work in agriculture and continue thetraditional practice of eating raw or uncooked cyprinoid fish products. The national control program seems tohave had little impact in many of these areas, and it has been difficult to make precise assessments of the overalleffectiveness of the program. Therefore there is a need for a community-based approach to prevent infectionwith the parasite, ideally involving as many players as possible. Here we document an attempt to assess the bestmeans to prevention on the basis of a community intervention in three villages in north-east Thailand, withparticipation of representatives of Health Promotion Hospitals of the Ministry of Public Health with dedicatedstaff, but also school teachers, independent government sponsored village health volunteers, and housewivesresponsible for cooking and diet selection. An action plan was followed, allowing detailed discussions of practicalproposals, their introduction and then repeated reflection and further proposals at the individual village level.