Lead on social science

Determine the best health systems approaches for:

1. Improved planning and delivery of integrated programmes; 
2. Increased and sustained access to NTD drugs; 
3. Harmonised inter-sectoral approach; and 
4. Strong and generalisable evidence base for integrated elimination and control of NTDs.



Studies on the glycosylation of metacyclic trypanosomes

The development of Trypanosoma brucei within the tsetse vector is accompanied by the expression of several stage-specific families of GPI-anchored surface glycoproteins. We recently discovered that saliva from T.brucei-infected tsetse flies is enriched with Brucei Alanine-Rich Proteins (BARP), VSG and a novel family of GPI-anchored surface glycoproteins. The latter are phylogenetically grouped within the Clade IV of family 50 of trypanosome surface proteins and are encoded by five paralogs, whose products are over 90% identical in sequence. Immunofluorescence and transcript analysis showed that Clade IV proteins are expressed on the surface of metacyclic trypanosomes and also on epimastigotes and pre-metacyclic forms although in lower abundance. This expression pattern opposes that of BARP, which is highly expressed in the epimastigote stage and diminishes during differentiation to metacyclics. Because Clade IV proteins are almost identical in sequence and are heavily expressed in the metacyclic stage, we named them Metacyclic Invariant.

Diseases: Leishmaniasis

IDA Acceptability Study (Fiji)

Assess the overall acceptability of the 3-drug treatment in the community as compared to the 2-drug treatment

Countries: Fiji

IDA Acceptability Study (India)

Assess the overall acceptability of the 3-drug treatment in the community as compared to the 2-drug treatment

Countries: India

Achieving LF Elimination in the Pacific Island Countries

Organize existing data for preparation of LF elimination dossiers based on the PacELF programs.

Countries: Japan | Australia

TAS survey - ICT-FTS Comparison study: A multi-center study comparing the ICT test and the new Filariasis Test Strip (FTS) tests in low prevalence settings of two Albay districts, Philippines

A comparison study of ICT cards and the new Filariasis Test Strip in Albay district, Philippines. Make recommendations for the new LF diagnostic test for the broader community.

Study Findings:

  • A total of 60 primary schools were surveyed using ICT tests, while a total of 46 primary schools were surveyed using FTS. In some instances, additional blood was not collected for FTS due to parental refusal.

  • Of the 2,944 children examined via ICT, 1 (0.034%) tested positive. No FTS was done on this child.

  • Of the 1,885 children examined via FTS, 1 (0.05%) tested positive. That same child tested negative via ICT and via repeat FTS.

  • FTS resulted in 57 invalid results due to: 1) test strips having no reaction, 2) detached sample pad on test strips, or 3) blood failing to travel upward after being absorbed by the test strips. In addition, some FTS foil pouches were empty.

  • Wb123 antibody levels appear to be relatively low among younger age groups and increase with age.

  • There was little observed change in antibody levels from Phase 1 (Oct 2014) to Phase 2 (Feb 2016).
Countries: Philippines

mHealth Platforms - Operational Research to optimize approaches to improve data flow and accounting

Determine the best data-capture system and implementation model to overcome data flow challenges faced by national MDA programs. Test and compare the effectiveness of 4 different data-tracking platforms currently in use (or development) in NTD endemic countries: 1) Build on existing national capacity, 2) Cloud-based SMS system, 3) Robo-call platform.

Preliminary study findings:

o The current process for tracking treatment information through paper-based forms can be complicated and leaves room for human error, as multiple aggregations of data must be collected manually between administrative levels before reaching the national level. 

o This study found that the process of collecting and reporting paper records on the stock and delivery of ivermectin, albendazole and Praziquantel took between two and three months. 

o The study found that robo-call surveys have the potential to add a new stream of information on drug stock between national supervisors and sub-district implementation teams, allowing program staff to take corrective actions in response to issues with drug supply.

o The proactive timing of the calls as well as the interactive component of responding to verbal questions through the phone makes this system useful to supervisors. 

o Robo-calls were found to be helpful to monitor drug levels prior to MDA at sub-district level and to ensure appropriate quantities of drug stock were reaching lower administrative level, but as post-MDA drug stock is returned to the district level, physical observation of district-level storerooms was the most effective way to assess drug quantities post-MDA.  

o SMS reporting made data accessible at the national level and to administrative units in real time. 

o Less than half of the registered supervisors submitted SMS reports, resulting in a significant difference in the number and type of treatments reported when compared to paper forms. 

o Greater training and ongoing management is needed to take full advantage of the speed and data accuracy improvements from robo-call and SMS surveys.


Countries: Uganda