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?
Re-envisioning the "F" in SAFE: Facial cleanliness and hygiene metrics, personal hygiene practices, and trachoma risk: Operational research for enhanced evaluation in Tanzania
RQ1 - Reliability assessment: What is the intra- and inter-rater reliability of current qualitative F and novel quantitative hygiene metrics across study contexts?
RQ2 – Validity assessment: What is the validity of each metric of interest (i.e., quantitative hygiene and qualitative F metrics) with regard to recent personal hygiene practices and trachoma outcomes?
RQ3 – Utility assessment: What is the utility of each metric (i.e., qualitative and quantitative)?
RQ4 – Risk factor assessment: Do proxy facial and hand hygiene outcomes, as measured by the novel quantitative hygiene metric, represent risk factors of incident C. trachomatis infection?
Innovative Community Referral: Can it improve VL case finding, treatment adherence and success in hard-to-reach settings of northwest Ethiopia?
Research questions: Does an innovative community referral linkage improve VL case finding in hard-to-reach areas of Northwest Ethiopia? Does innovative community referral linkage improve patient adherence to VL treatment? Does innovative community referral linkage improve VL patient’s treatment outcomes? Does an electronic referral linkage system improve back and forth communication and feedback between the treatment centre and community?
Re-envisioning the "F" in SAFE: Facial cleanliness and hygiene metrics, personal hygiene practices, and trachoma risk: Operational research for enhanced evaluation
Reliability assessment: What is the intra- and inter-rater reliability of current qualitative F and novel quantitative hygiene metrics across study contexts?
Validity assessment: What is the validity of each metric of interest (i.e., quantitative hygiene and qualitative F metrics) with regard to recent personal hygiene practices and trachoma outcomes?
Utility assessment: What is the utility of each metric (i.e., qualitative and quantitative)?
Risk factor assessment: Do proxy facial and hand hygiene outcomes, as measured by the novel quantitative hygiene metric, represent risk factors of incident C. trachomatis infection?"
Can geostatistical tools be used to develop a stop IDA strategy for LF that can measure <1% Mf prevalence in adults?
To determine the appropriate serologic threshold(s) to be used to initiate MDA for onchocerciasis.
Morbidity management for hard to reach populations in insecure areas in Burkina Faso: analysis of barriers and determination of the resilience of the health system
The study aims to identify the most effective approaches for case management and delivery of surgical services for IDPs and migrants suffering from LF and/or trachoma in security compromised areas. Barriers to reaching morbidity patients will be assessed, in addition to determinants of the institutionalizatoin of NTD morbidity management within the national health system. Research aims will be addressed through the following key activities: document review and direct inspection protocols to determine health facilities' ability to provide MMDP services; active case finding including creation of WhatsApp groups and SMS messaging to help keep track of patients and refer them to care; key informant interviews with health workers and community leaders to assess behavior change communication strategies for raising awareness among affected individuals; one-on-one interviews and focus group discussions with patients to understand barriers to care; and stakeholder engagement to increase buy-in and identify ways to operationalize MMDP services within national program.
Evaluation of community directed vector control on transmission of Onchocerca volvulus in a Loa loa co-endemic region
This study will pilot the Slash and Clear methodology in an oncho-Loa loa co-endemic setting. Previous pilots in Uganda and Nigeria have demonstrated that this simple strategy of removing breeding sites can result in significant black fly reductions that last for several months. This study will provide important data on the impact of Slash and Clear on black fly biting, and consequently its impact on oncho elimination. Two intervention and one control community will be compared for two years, with repeated measurements being taken of biting rates.
To determine the appropriate serologic threshold(s) to be used to initiate MDA for onchocerciasis
The Neglected Mind-Skin Link: Promoting mental health and wellbeing of people affected by skin NTDs: Formative piloting of the WHO Guide on Mental Health and NTD Integration
This study is designed as a proof-of-concept to test the feasibility and acceptability of a proposed intervention package outlined in a soon to be published WHO manual on NTDs and mental health. The primary output of this study is to adapt a model of intervention from the soon to be published WHO guide on Mental Health and NTDs. The team aims to achieve this output through:
- Screening 300 individuals for symptoms of depression and anxiety, refer where necessary, and sample 30 of those individuals for participation in qualitative interviews.
- Conducting peer-led focus group discussions (separate groups for leprosy and LF) to better understand the needs, priorities, and barriers related to affected individuals’ mental wellbeing and quality of life.
- Conducting a workshop with health leaders, community health workers, nurses, service users, family/caregivers, and experts to develop a feasible and applicable theory of change that aligns with WHO guidelines.
- Conducting in depth interviews with key stakeholders to assess the developed model’s feasibility and accessibility Conducting quantitative measures for feasibility and acceptability to assess the stepped-care approach model which involves: improved screening, referral, uptake of service, knowledge uptake following training, and an assessment of whether supervision was carried out. They also plan to triangulate health information data to determine uptake of services.
- Conducting follow-up FGDs with those 30 individuals after a one-month period to understand their experience with primary health center mental health services.