What is Preventive Chemotherapy

Preventive chemotherapy is a key strategy in controlling neglected tropical diseases. Learn how this cost-effective intervention is making a difference globally.


Preventive chemotherapy is a key component of public health programs aimed at controlling and eliminating neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) such as lymphatic filariasis, schistosomiasis, onchocerciasis, soil-transmitted helminthiasis, and trachoma. This approach involves treating entire at-risk populations with safe and effective medicines to prevent the spread of these debilitating diseases.

How Preventive Chemotherapy Works

Preventive chemotherapy targets diseases that are endemic in specific regions where the risk of infection is high. By administering anti-parasitic drugs to entire communities or populations at regular intervals, the aim is to reduce the burden of NTDs and halt transmission.

Benefits of Preventive Chemotherapy

1. Cost-effective: Preventive chemotherapy is a cost-effective intervention that can prevent disabilities and improve the health and well-being of affected populations.

2. Scalability: This approach can be easily scaled up to reach large populations in a relatively short period, making it a viable strategy for controlling NTDs.

Case Studies

One successful example of preventive chemotherapy is the mass drug administration program targeting lymphatic filariasis in India. By treating millions of people in endemic areas with a combination of anti-parasitic drugs, India has made significant progress in reducing the prevalence of this disease.


Despite its effectiveness, preventive chemotherapy faces challenges such as ensuring compliance with treatment regimens, reaching remote populations, and securing sustainable funding for long-term implementation.


Preventive chemotherapy plays a crucial role in the global effort to eliminate NTDs and improve the health of vulnerable populations. By leveraging this preventive approach, we can achieve significant progress in controlling and eventually eradicating these debilitating diseases.

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