As countries experience success in expanding programs targeting NTDs and meeting initial programmatic goals, new targets require more precise and thorough efforts to identify remaining populations in need of treatment. Therefore, there is a need to develop strategies to improve the quality of information on the geographic distribution of these infections.
• For onchocerciasis, the shift in program goals from control to elimination has necessitated the development of new mapping strategies for areas that were previously not thought to need intervention. New mapping strategies are also required to support implementation decisions in areas where co-endemicity with Loa loa infection may inhibit safe implementation of MDA.
• For schistosomiasis, changes in program targets require mapping at a finer scale to improve the precision of decisions to implement MDA.
News & Stories
Scientists from seven African countries train to use next-gen river blindness diagnostic tool
Onchocerciasis (oncho), commonly known as river blindness, is a neglected tropical disease (NTD) that, according to the 2017 Global Burden of Disease Study, has caused vision loss for an estimated 1.15 million people – nearly all of them in Africa.
A new tool and protocol for testing for oncho developed at Smith College and University Hospital Bonn, funded through the Coalition for Operational Research on Neglected Tropical Diseases at The Task Force for Global Health with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), promises more accurate and cost-effective testing for the disease. When widely deployed, the improved test will help scientists and health workers to better-target expensive treatments, while allowing resource-constrained health systems to spend more efficiently.