Request for Proposals: Research to Address Special Topics in Visceral Leishmaniasis in East Africa

This page describes a call for proposals which has since closed. Please monitor our funding opportunities page for open calls.

The Neglected Tropical Diseases Support Center (NTD-SC) at The Task Force for Global Health is currently soliciting proposals for operational research to address special topics in visceral leishmaniasis in East Africa. 

Visceral leishmaniasis (VL), a parasitic disease transmitted by sandflies, affects an estimated 50,000 to 90,000 new cases of VL per year worldwide[1]. VL disproportionately affects people living in poverty in rural areas, and who may be highly mobile or migratory. In areas with higher HIV incidence, the risk of co-infection with VL can lead to worsening of the HIV infection, and those with HIV are more vulnerable to VL infection. Treatment for VL in East Africa requires injections delivered over 17 days, introducing potential losses to treatment compliance over time and raising concerns about resistance. The current landscape of treatment options for VL is rapidly changing, offering new promises for improved treatment and prevention of disease.

A program to achieve VL elimination as a public health problem has been established in Asia, but such an effort does not exist in East Africa, the region accounting for most cases worldwide currently (about 50%; 28% from South East Asia and 21% from the Americas[2]).  Research supported by this request for proposals would focus on developing innovative approaches to identifying and characterizing foci of transmission in the East Africa region and propose solutions to addressing existing barriers to VL diagnosis and treatment, at both the community and health facility levels.

With this RFP, the NTD-SC is soliciting research proposals to: 

  1. Address health provider knowledge and practices regarding suspected VL case diagnosis and treatment, particularly in light of low and/or decreasing prevalence and the risks of co-infection with HIV;
  2. Explore barriers to sustainable integration of VL services into the health system;
  3. Identify novel approaches to case finding; and
  4. Understand and address factors related to increasing treatment adherence.

Examples of potential research topics might include: 

  • Implementing detailed mapping activities to know the actual extent of selected endemic areas;
  • Development and testing of a novel approach for VL mapping and surveillance;
  • Integration and/or strengthening of VL-related services in existing health services;
  • Improved approaches to case finding and management, especially in hard-to-reach populations where VL is most common;
  • Acceptability of current and new treatment options amongst patients, their families, and health providers;
  • Analysis of VL knowledge and understanding among endemic community members and development of strategies to improve awareness and care-seeking behavior;
  • Investigation of the role of NTD drug distributors and other non-formal health workers in sensitizing community members about VL, its prevention and symptoms; and
  • Exploration of the social and behavioral barriers and opportunities for rollout of identification of suspected cases at the community level.

This is not an exhaustive list of topics to be funded, and other relevant ideas will be considered.

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

Supplemental Materials: Helpful materials for preparing your proposal are available here



[2] WHO Global Health Observatory. NTD Data. Leishmaniasis (2018 data)

Publication date: 

10 January 2020