Other study design
Onchocerciasis LAMP assay to optimize diagnostics and sampling strategies for low-prevalence settings in Cameroon
1. Can the O-150 LAMP assay be established on whole blood? 2. Can the O-150 qPCR methodology be adapted for human sampling?
1. How does the performance of the O-150 LAMP compare to the O-150 qPCR assay?
2. What threshold be used to define positive vs negative results for both assays?
3. Can deep sequencing reveal over potential biomarkers for further investigation?
1. Development of spatio-temporal models and associated statistical methods to enable forward projections of the geographical distribution of prevalence, and hence the risk of resurgence, by combining model-based geostatistical analysis with mechanistic predictive modelling of disease transmission dynamics, using the most recent available data on disease prevalence and environmental risk-factors.
2. To use the results from aim 1 to derive statistically efficient and affordable designs for networks of sentinel sites to enable continued monitoring of prevalence in areas at high risk of resurgence."
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?
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.
Can geospatial algorithms be used by disease programs to help identify hotspots at community and Implementation Unit level?
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 spatial analysis in mixed methods approach to improve MDA Access by reaching underserved and vulnerable populations of Mali in NTD elimination framework
This mixed methods study plans to focus activities around two kinds of mobile, underserved populations: nomadic pastoralists in the rural district of Tominian and economic migrants and displaced groups from conflict areas in the urban district of Kalabancoro. Activities include:
- Quantitative questionnaire with a micro-narrative component. Micro-narratives are an established methodology focused on rapidly collecting qualitative data from a large number of participants
- Spatial analysis of study participants
- In-depth interviews and focus group discussions with health workers and community/opinion leaders
- Integrated analysis of the spatial data with questionnaire and micro-narrative data to better describe trends in the targeted vulnerable populations with respect to accessibility and acceptability of NTD program services
The team aims to combine spatial analysis with qualitative data collection to answer the following research questions:
- What are the factors leading to low coverage of MDA within underserved and vulnerable populations in Malian community?
- How are underserved and vulnerable populations currently being served by the public health interventions/health system?
- How effective and efficient is the ISAMA process for NTDs coverage in underserved and vulnerable populations compared to the current data collection and analysis approach?
- What critical factors influence the use of ISAMA approach in data analysis system process?
- How are characteristics of low coverage geographically distributed and the factors associated in underserved and vulnerable populations?
- Who are the underserved populations and what are their characteristics?
This study aims to understand the relationship between trachomatous trichiasis (TT) and mental health disorders over an 18-month study period, by answering the following questions:
- What is the impact of the blinding stage of trachoma (Trachomatous Trichiasis) on common mental disorders such as depression, anxiety and suicidality?
- Will the validation of the 5-Question Stigma Indicators (5-QSI) generic stigma tool help to measure and monitor stigma in trachomatous trichiasis patients in Ethiopia
- What are the drivers for mental disorders in TT patients
- Is there a difference in depression, anxiety and suicidality prevalence between TT cases accepting vs declining TT surgery; and un-operated vs postoperative TT cases? The research team will be trained on good clinical practice through the WHO Mental Health Gap Action Programme (mhGAP). Following interviews, any patient with TT will be referred for surgery and patients found with a mental health disorder will be referred for care. If a negative impact of blinding trachoma on mental health is noted, the researchers plan to use the results of the study to advocate for additional funding for the trachoma program and highlight the need to address mental health in Ethiopia.
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?
Interrogating “big data” to develop a user-friendly analysis framework for gender equity in MDA to ensure no one is left behind in Neglected Tropical Disease interventions in Nigeria
To develop and pilot a standardised analytical framework for the spatial and temporal analysis of routinely collected gender disaggregated NTD programme data. This will allow increased understanding and spatial visualisation of the influence of gendered programmatic inputs, external geographic and social factors on the equity of programmatic outputs, particularly access to mass administration of medicines (MAM).