1. Can MDA resume and achieve high performance while minimizing risk of COVID-19 transmission through adherence to SOPs?
2. Can local teams easily implement the recommended modifications to MDAs; what is the added cost; and how do the above vary by context?
3. What aspects of local context influence implementation of SOPs?
Urban dwellers have frequently been included as "hard to reach" when examining MDA coverage and uptake. Poor coverage in urban settings is a key factor that prevents programs in some settings from achieving success. This research study proposes a community-based participatory action research (CBPAR) strategy to better understand the reasons why this population isn’t reached and/or their decision not to participate in onchocerciasis and lymphatic filariasis MDAs. The results will help identify last mile strategies for urban populations and will generate a technical toolkit for how to conduct rapid participatory research in areas that require novel outreach methods amongst hard-to-reach populations. This form of social science methodology has not been used frequently within the NTD community and this proposal offers an opportunity to build the evidence base for these methods within the context of hard to reach populations.
The researchers plan to conduct a number of activities in order to determine the effectiveness of the participatory approach in targeting urban populations as compared to the standard mobilization and delivery approach.
- Rapid ethnographic interviews, a new technique aimed at rapidly collecting and analyzing qualitative data, to gather community feedback regarding barriers in accessing treatment
- An intervention development workshop with community leaders, health workers, researchers, and the ministry of health
- Deliver the newly designed strategy in Za-Kpota district and compare coverage in urban settings to Ouinhi district
- Finalize a rapid participatory approach toolkit and conduct a time-motion study of the approach to improve the business case to the MoH for uptake 5. Surveys and individual interviews with key stakeholders to determine acceptability, appropriateness, and feasibility of the proposed approach and toolkit
A knowledge co-production strategy to address systematic non-compliance with MDA for Lymphatic Filariasis in Leogane, Haiti
The researchers propose taking a novel approach to increase coverage and reach previously neglected populations by engaging non-compliant individuals in devising a more effective strategy through a technique called knowledge co-production. The researchers plan to address the following questions:
- Can an intervention package co-produced with systematically non-compliant individuals result in increased MDA coverage between the 2019 and 2020 LF MDA rounds?
- Who and where are the systematic non-compliers in Leogane and Gressier?
- What are the reasons motivating systematic non-compliance?
- Is MDA non-compliance associated with hotspots of LF transmission?
The researchers plan the following activities:
- A household cluster survey with 1300 individuals of all ages. This will define coverage in the past MDA and identify non-compliant individuals. In addition, ‘hidden’ non-compliers (NCs) will be located by a networking approach (respondent-driven sampling [RDS]).
- All NCs will then be eligible to be selected into groups of 10 by age (18-25; 26-50; >50), sex (M, F) and demography (urban/rural). These 12 groups will each work with the national health team to devise new approaches to the non-compliance issue. These will be put into place for the 2020 MDA and then assessed by the co-production strategy groups. After the 2020 MDA a second survey will occur to assess impact.
- The relationship between non-compliance and hotspots will be assessed using spatial analysis and defined serologically (FTS and DBS for antibodies) in collaboration with CDC.
Haiti, like many other countries, has made considerable progress in the elimination of lymphatic filariasis. To date, 118 out of 140 communes have passed TAS and stopped MDA. However, little is understood about why some communes have persistent transmission despite five or more rounds of MDA. The proposed study aims to identify alternative approaches to MDA that may help to increase access, uptake, and coverage, particularly for individuals who typically do not comply with MDAs. This cluster-randomized design will test a novel approach (door to door strategy) against the standard health post-based delivery method. Additionally, the study aims to identify non-compliant individuals and better understand their reasons for non-participation. Furthermore, a cost analysis will be undertaken as part of this study to understand the potential implications for the country program should the door-to-door strategy prove effective in reaching higher numbers of people.
Integration of LF morbidity management and disability prevention (MMDP) into community health services: exploring the coverage and equity of community health worker-driven LF MMDP burden assessment and service uptake in Côte d’Ivoire.
This study will test the reliability of community health worker-led (CHW) MMDP burden estimates by having CHWs first estimate MMDP burden, followed by a rigorous population-based survey to get a representative estimate of MMDP burden for the district. Six months later, these cases will be followed up to see whether they accessed the MMDP services and assess the quality of care. The study will examine the accuracy of the CHW estimates, CHWs’ ability to diagnose properly, social biases of health care workers that may prevent equitable care delivery, and the cost comparison of the CHW method vs. population-based survey. In addition, the team plans to conduct an evaluation of the quality of MMDP service provision, including available psychosocial support, at all facilities in the selected health district. Programs need a feasible and reliable method for coming up with MMDP burden estimates for LF and strategies to ensure that people have access to care and utilize that care. This study addresses the two pillars of WHO dossier development for MMDP and will provide the Ministry of Health with essential information to plan and adapt their program to accommodate MMDP services.
Integrating NTD programme monitoring into routine health systems data: evaluating a DHIS2 platform for real-time mass administration of medicines (MAM) reporting
This study includes an assessment of the Sightsavers rollout of a DHIS2 based tool for data collection in the NTD program in 2 states in Nigeria. In particular, the research project seeks to evaluate the health system strengthening effects of the tool for planning, monitoring and reporting of MDA. They plan to examine:
- the functionality of the tool at scale
- ease of integration across different NTD interventions
- data accessibility, accuracy, timeliness, and usefulness.
The team also aims to understand whether the implementation of this tool would enhance government ownership of the data and the NTD programme in general. This research will aid in identifying barriers and opportunities for potential scale up of the tool throughout Nigeria. The team also plans to focus on understanding how the data will be used at different levels of the health system.
The Zambia Neglected Tropical Disease Control Programme’s role in the attainment of Universal Health Coverage in Zambia: an implementation research study.
This study aims to conduct a landscape analysis to better understand the implementation context for the NTD control programme in Zambia. The activities include:
- an assessment of institutional structures, service delivery systems, existing resources/capacity
- mapping gaps, facilitators, and barriers to program implementation
- identifying potential opportunities to introduce innovative approaches for program integration and improvement.
Key informant interviews and focus group discussions with policy makers and NTD program officers will complement an extensive document review. The results of this assessment will be fed into the next National Health Strategic Plan, which expires in 2021.
Assessing the effectiveness of using the Community Directed Intervention (CDI) approach to improve community ownership of Mass Drug Administration (MDA) for Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) in Malawi
This project intends to assess the effectiveness of using the Community Directed Intervention (CDI) approach as a vehicle for delivery of mass drug administration (MDA) campaigns against targeted NTDs namely, schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminths (STH) such as Ascaris lumbricoides (roundworms), Trichuris trichiura (whip worms) and Ancylostoma sp. (hookworms) in selected districts of Malawi. The idea is to take advantage of the logistical setup, organizational strength and high degree of efficiency of the national NTD programme to improve delivery of the current MDA efforts to control selected and highly prioritized NTDs of schistosomiasis and STH and to enhance community ownership of the interventions in selected rural and remote communities by using the CDI approach. The primary research question is: Can the CDI approach be effectively used to deliver MDA to control NTDs at community level in rural Malawian districts?
Improving outcome of future transmission assessment surveys and community compliance for MDA in 14 LF endemic districts of Uttar Pradesh.
The success of MDA programs requires effective planning, community engagement, and delivery by community drug distributors. This proposal seeks to assess barriers and facilitators of effective coverage. Using in depth interviews, focus group discussions, and surveys, they will investigate factors related to acceptance, availability, and accessibility of MDA from the perspectives of drug distributors, healthcare workers, community leaders, the NTD program, and community members. Using the findings from the formative phase, an intervention package will be developed and implemented during MDA, followed by an evaluation of the impact of the intervention on coverage.
This project is part of a larger series of four studies that use a mixed methods approach to understand why particular districts that have undergone 5+ years of MDA are failing or are likely to fail transmission assessment surveys (TAS). Other studies include 169.1D Ghana, 169.2U Burkina Faso, and 177U Nepal. This study in Uttar Pradesh also provides a second opportunity to deploy the rapid ethnographic approach that will be first tested in Nepal. Team members from HERD Nepal will be traveling to India to train their team on the technique and assist with roll out.
Improving Mass Drug Administration After Pre-Transmission Assessment Survey (Pre-TAS) Failure: A Mixed Methods Study in Nepal
This study builds on the methods developed for the operational studies ongoing in Ghana and Burkina Faso. The first two research questions are the same as those earlier studies with two new questions added here- question 3 on triple drug therapy (ivermectin, DEC, albendazole – IDA) and 4 on the use of a new rapid ethnography approach.
- What factors are associated with effective (and lower) MDA coverage as defined as availability, accessibility, and acceptability in settings that have repeatedly failed Pre-TAS?
- What is the impact of an adapted and tailored intervention package on achieving effective coverage?
- What messages and community engagement approaches are needed to ensure the acceptability of IDA triple drug therapy in Nepal?
- How does the rapid ethnography approach compare to more traditional qualitative analysis methods in terms of cost, timeliness, and ability to provide required information for programmatic decisions? Can local capacity for use of this approach be built rapidly?