Online Survey to Elicit Views of Technical Support from Endemic Country Neglected Tropical Disease Managers

An online survey was part of the process of an evaluation of USAID’s NTD program conducted by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. William R. Brieger, Adebamike Oshunbade, Gilbert Burnham, Violetta Yevstigneyeva, Emily Wainwright, and Darin Evans present the process and brief findings from the online survey Monday (20171106) during Poster Session A of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 66th Annual Conference in Baltimore. If you are there, look for Late Breaker Poster #5111. The poster abstract is provided below.

Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) are a diverse group of communicable diseases prevailing in tropical and subtropical conditions in 149 countries and affect more than one billion people, especially those in poverty. Since 2006 The US Agency for International Development has working with global and national NTD partners to control or eliminate 5 NTDs that respond to preventive chemotherapy delivered through mass drug administration at the community level.

As part of an evaluation of this effort, an online survey was conducted with endemic country NTD staff to learn their views on the successes and challenges of USAID NTD program support. A 22-question 3-part survey of closed and open-ended responses was posted online through Survey Monkey.  A list of emails of government, NGO and donor NTD staff from 21 endemic countries was compiled. After 3 contacts, 44 English and 22 French speakers responded.

Most respondents thought Global NTD goals aligned adequately or fully (88%) with national priorities. Respondents valued regular technical assistance from USAID as 76% rated help in annual planning useful or very useful, and well-coordinated with their own annual planning (71%). Most (71%) said the USAID NTD program had been effective in communicating its goals and accomplishments among country partners.

Respondents felt that documentation and dissemination of success stories could be strengthened. Specific USAID contributions were valued: “USAID gives an orientation on the tools to use, shares the guidelines to follow-up and does comments for clarifications.” When asked about integration of NTDs with other programs (WASH, PHC, and MNCH), 81% of respondents felt this was achieved to some degree, but recognized a need for national ministries to take a stronger lead.  Concerning strengthening national leadership, 81% felt USAID support helped.

The online survey process was a valuable supplement to time-consuming country visits and ultimately provided useful input from a wider cross-section of persons involved in NTD efforts. The suggestions will guide upcoming technical assistance as countries move toward their control and elimination goals.

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