Exploring integration between Neglected Tropical Diseases and Malaria Control Programs

Oladele Olagundoye MD, MPH, an Atlas Corps Fellow at the Corporate Alliance for Malaria in Africa (CAMA), GBCHealth, New York, provides a perspective on the recently concluded Neglected Tropical Diseases meeting in Washington….

yola-cdd-helping-a-community-memebr-to-fix-an-itn-to-the-wall-sm.jpgThe Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) community convened at the World Bank for a 2-day conference tagged “Uniting to Combat NTDs: Translating the London Declaration into Action” on November 17 – 18, 2012 in Washington DC. The objective was to provide a forum where all stakeholders in the fight against NTDs can identify the priorities, discuss the challenges and suggest strategies towards achieving the World Health Organization’s (WHO) targets to control and eliminate at least 10 NTDs by 2020.

Leveraging on the London Declaration of January 30, 2012 by leading pharmaceutical companies, donor agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), to supply the drugs required for preventive chemotherapy (PCT) and the treatment of NTDs, the participants identified three priority areas necessary for the actualization of the WHO’s 2020 targets:

  1. Bridging the estimated $US 4.7 billion funding gap by sustaining international commitments and increased domestic funding for NTDs by endemic country governments.
  2. Building the human resource capacity and health infrastructure at the country-level to effectively absorb the increased supply of drugs, and for the scale-up of delivery services.
  3. Effective integration of intervention programs and incorporation of water and sanitation interventions (WASH), to complement the mass drug administration, and intensified disease management of NTDs.

It was encouraged that Malaria & NTDs (Lymphatic Filariasis & Dengue fever) programs should integrate their services, because the scale-up of vector control interventions (LLINs) will benefit the populations served by both programs. However, a critical barrier limiting this collaboration is the suspicion by malaria programs that NTDs managers intend to leverage on the availability of more funding for malaria programs, to achieve specific NTDs targets.

I recommend that program managers for malaria and NTDs (LF & Dengue fever) should adopt the partnerships and four One’s approach, which has contributed greatly to the success of WHO’s African Program for Onchocerciasis Control (APOC) –

  • 1 collaboration mechanism
  • 1 budget
  • 1 package of interventions and
  • 1 monitoring and evaluation framework

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