June 2017 – December 2018
Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are a group of communicable diseases that cause suffering, blindness, disfigurement, and delays in physical and cognitive growth. They affect more than one billion people worldwide, mainly populations living in poverty. Ethiopia bears a significant burden of NTDs in Africa, with a wide range of the diseases endemic in the country.
Significant progress in preventing and controlling NTDs has been made in recent years, particularly through scaling up mass drug administration (MDA). However, as countries approach the ‘endgame’ of eliminating NTDs as a public health problem, MDA will need to be complemented by other types of interventions. A key strategy is to ensure that NTDs can be adequately managed within the primary health care systems in the affected countries.
In collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health, Malaria Consortium is conducting a study to assess the feasibility and acceptability of an intervention designed to strengthen the primary healthcare systems capacity to detect, manage and record five NTDs that are commonly found in Ethiopia: schistosomiasis (intestinal and urogenital), soil-transmitted helminths, trachoma and morbidity related to untreated lymphatic filiariasis and podoconiosis. The study involves developing materials and processes for use by health facility staff, Health Extension Workers (a cadre of trained health workers providing a basic package of care at rural Health Posts) and Health Development Army volunteers (a network of women tasked with driving health-related behaviour change within their communities). The materials and processes will be used in the catchment area of one health centre in in Ethiopia’s Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People's Regional State.