Operational Research (OR) has played a key role in the success of programs aiming to overcome neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), from defining the initial control and elimination strategies to more recent efforts to improve and validate new tools for monitoring and evaluation. These efforts have provided a valuable framework to guide initiatives to eliminate lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis and trachoma, and to reduce the burden of schistosomiasis and soil transmitted helminths, but the work is not finished; additional progress is needed to finalize endgame strategies for each disease and to adapt and refine these strategies in pursuit of the broader goal of integrated control and elimination of all NTDs.
The Coalition for Operational Research on Neglected Tropical Diseases thus supports operational research addressing the five key priorities seen below, in addition to meeting other needs of national NTD programs.
- Base our process on a collaborative, country-centered approach to operational research, working closely with national NTD programs, researchers and other in-country partners
- Target priority OR challenges identified by national NTD programs
- Be flexible and adaptive as the OR agenda is evolves from year to year
- Engage the World Health Organization throughout the OR process to facilitate the translation of research findings into WHO guidance for NTD programs
- Ensure that all OR is aligned with the 2030 World Health Assembly-approved roadmap for NTDs
Beyond OR - Supporting the Global NTD Agenda
The principal role of the Coalition for Operational Research on Neglected Tropical Diseases is to support the development of a robust operational research agenda that is focused on meeting the critical challenges facing NTD programs. Research priorities are identified through active and ongoing engagement with the NTD community through technical meetings and the annual COR-NTD meeting. Research is supported through funding, as well as scientific input on protocols, analysis, and training. Research, however, does not take place in a vacuum, and additional steps are often needed to translate research outcomes into program practice. COR-NTD supports a number of initiatives outside of the operational research portfolio that address challenges to NTD programs in order to provide broader and more holistic support to the NTD community and help maximize the impact of national programs targeting NTDs.