Request for Proposals: Research to Identify Solutions to Address Barriers Facing Special Populations Seeking NTD Prevention & Treatment

Request for Proposals: Research to Identify Solutions to Address Barriers Facing Special Populations Seeking NTD Prevention & Treatment

This page describes a call for proposals which has since closed. 

The Neglected Tropical Diseases Support Center (NTD-SC) at The Task Force for Global Health is currently soliciting proposals for operational research to identify innovative solutions to address barriers that special populations face when accessing NTD prevention and treatment.

As the 2030 targets to control and eliminate NTDs approach, it is essential that all people living in endemic areas have equitable access to NTD treatment and care. Despite much success, specific populations continue to miss the annual mass drug administrations (MDA) and may also be missing morbidity management and disability prevention (MMDP) services. One potential explanation for the lack of equitable access may be related to gender and the specific roles and responsibilities that render men or women more prone to certain NTD infections and/or less able to access treatment and care. In addition, specific groups may fall outside of the responsibility of the national health care system, like refugees, who may lack access to preventive chemotherapy delivered through MDA and MMDP care. Finally, migrant and seasonal workers may never participate in annual MDAs due to routine economic, social, and cultural patterns of migration. This inequity is particularly important in cross-border areas where national NTD programs have different treatment schedules and/or lack coordination between different countries or regions.

The outcomes of this request for proposals (RFP) will strengthen the evidence base by identifying the causes and piloting solutions that break through the barriers these special populations face in accessing NTD services. Operational research (OR) in this area will aid in the development of a model of NTD service delivery that may include alternatives to MDA to deliver preventive chemotherapy and/or integration across other public health campaigns. Priority will be given to proposals that consider how interventions can be integrated within the health system for sustainability and that explore the barriers and opportunities of integration to inform policy recommendations. Multi-country proposals that can be completed within the allotted time are welcomed.

Examples of operational research topics that may be considered include the following:

  • Investigating gender-based differences in access to treatment and care (MDA, MMDP);
  • Piloting a model of NTD service delivery that includes an alternative to annual MDA;
  • Piloting a model of NTD service delivery that integrates MDA with other public health campaigns that are successfully reaching these populations;
  • Exploring the barriers and opportunities to accessing NTD services (MDA, MMDP) among specific groups of individuals who may fall outside of the health system (internally displaced persons [IDPs], refugees, pastoralists, migrants, and seasonal workers) to inform strong policy recommendations; and
  • Assessing the equity of access of specific populations to ongoing MMDP services in a post-MDA context.

This is not an exhaustive list of topics to be funded, and other relevant ideas will be considered. The NTDs which will be considered for this call include: leprosy, lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis, schistosomiasis, trachoma, and visceral leishmaniasis.

With this call, the NTD-SC seeks proposals that are nested within national programs and which establish a foundation for integrating NTD-related activities into national health systems. Projects will be funded with UK aid through the UK Department for International Development via the NTD-SC, which serves as Secretariat for the Coalition for Operational Research on NTDs (COR-NTD).

Applications will be evaluated based on the following:

  1. Well-formulated research question that addresses the theme of the call
  2. Whether the proposed research is nested within the national NTD program
  3. Collaboration between national and international research teams
  4. Scientific merit of the research questions and methods
  5. Plan for knowledge translation
  6. Value for money

Maximum duration of the project: All research activities, analysis, and final technical/financial reports must be concluded and submitted by 27 February 2021.

Submission: Submissions are made through a web form, available here:

Deadline for submission: Midnight EST on February 7, 2020