Schistosomiasis is endemic in 76 countries and territories in the world and affects over 200 million people while another 500 to 600 million people are at risk. It is estimated that 120 million individuals are symptomatic while 20 million suffer severe consequences of this disease. It is also estimated that 85% of all cases of schistosomiasis, and virtually the entire most severe cases, are concentrated in Africa.
Despite success stories of control of schistosomiasis in countries like Brazil, Morocco, Egypt, and to some extent China, Sub-Saharan Africa is still greatly afflicted by this ancient disease. In order to address the inadequacies in schistosomiasis operational research and control in Africa, the idea of forming a network for African scientists and other scientists from outside Africa but interested in schistosomiasis in Africa was born in March 2004 in Geneva, Switzerland, at World Health Organisation (WHO)/Special program for Tropical Diseases Research (TDR) offices.