Projects

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:

  1. Can an intervention package co-produced with systematically non-compliant individuals result in increased MDA coverage between the 2019 and 2020 LF MDA rounds?
  2. Who and where are the systematic non-compliers in Leogane and Gressier?
  3. What are the reasons motivating systematic non-compliance?
  4. Is MDA non-compliance associated with hotspots of LF transmission?

The researchers plan the following activities:

  1. 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]).
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
Countries: Haiti

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?

Countries: Malawi

Trachomatous Trichiasis and Mental Health: a comparative impact study

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:

  1. What is the impact of the blinding stage of trachoma (Trachomatous Trichiasis) on common mental disorders such as depression, anxiety and suicidality?
  2. 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
  3. What are the drivers for mental disorders in TT patients
  4. 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.
Countries: Ethiopia
Diseases: Trachoma

Investigating the role of drug delivery strategy in MDA drug coverage

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.

Countries: Haiti

Strategies for the ENdgame: Targeting Infections among Non-compliants in the Elimination of Lymphatic filariasis (SENTINEL)

Non-compliance is a primary barrier to attaining elimination goals. This study aims to utilize data captured in MDA registers to address non-compliance in the Ahanta West District of Ghana, which has been identified as a hotspot of LF transmission with >1% microfilaria (mf) prevalence after 15-16 rounds of MDA. On the basis of information identified in the register, this study proposes to deploy two strategies:

  1. Engage and Treat individuals who were ill, missed treatment, or were unable to participate during the last MDA, and
  2. Test and Treat for individuals who might be systemically non-compliant or afraid of adverse events. The use of MDA registers to assist in locating non-compliant individuals is novel and would provide valuable evidence for other programs and represents an alternative strategy for countries struggling with the end game. It may also help provide insight as to whether systematically non-compliant individuals truly serve as a reservoir for LF in areas designated as hotspots. Qualitative data collection will aid in understanding reasons for systematic non-compliance and may lead to changes in social mobilization strategies.
Countries: Ghana

Bringing near real-time data solutions to MDA in Ghana – progress towards elimination of Onchocerciasis

Ghana aims to eliminate onchocerciasis by 2025. Currently, all data points for mass drug administrations are collected on paper. Paper-based data collection does not allow for rapid evaluation and course correction throughout the implementation of the MDA. This study proposes a collaboration between the monitoring and evaluation division of the Ghana Health Service and the Clinical Informatics Research Unit at the University of Southampton. The study aims to answer the primary research question: Can community-driven electronic data collection, and near real-time provision of source data and interactive visualizations better support decision-makers on approaches to evaluating and managing MDAs for onchocerciasis?

Countries: Ghana
Diseases: Onchocerciasis

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.

 

Countries: India

Developing a surveillance framework for the post-elimination phase of the lymphatic filariasis programme in Bangladesh

  • Can the micro-stratification of lymphatic filariasis (LF) transmission assessment surveys positive case and clinical case data be used to identify, map and monitor transmission hotspots as part of an enhanced endgame surveillance strategy?
  • Can targeted molecular xenomonitoring detect ongoing transmission [to the same extent as human surveillance] in defined LF transmission hotspots?

 

Countries: Bangladesh

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