Announcing a Call for Proposals on Health Systems Strengthening

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 explore factors related to the inclusion of NTDs into the platform of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) within the national health system.

As an integral part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), universal health coverage (UHC) implies that all people have access to and use the quality health services they need, without incurring financial hardship. Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) will need to be included as part of UHC in countries where these diseases are currently endemic and where people will live with NTD-related disability long after elimination certification. Presently, the NTD program exists as a standalone vertical program in many countries. This RFP will contribute to our understanding of how we move from vertical programming for NTD control and elimination to the integration of NTDs within the standard package of care delivered at the primary health care unit.  Strengthening the existing health system to be able to incorporate NTD programming into their regular activities is integral to this process.

Input from the research community will inform our understanding of how NTD programs can be integrated into UHC and health systems. With this RFP, we are soliciting protocols that will start to answer some of the relevant questions related to 1) NTDs and UHC and 2) NTDs and health systems strengthening.

Examples of potential research topics might include:

  • The integration of NTD morbidity management and disability prevention (MMDP) into primary health care services
  • The role of volunteer drug distributors and other non-formal health workers in the endgame, to support elimination, provide surveillance, and respond to MMDP needs
  • Landscape analysis of national policy makers to include NTDs as part of the regular health programming; including DHIS2, medical training, primary health care package of care, surveillance
  • Economic analysis of the benefits of treatment (preventive (MDA) and/or morbidity management) in terms of potential to reduce loss of household income (as related to the goals of UHC)
  • Existing platforms (i.e. reproductive health care, maternal child health) as opportunities to include screening, diagnosis, treatment and follow-up for NTDs in a near- and post-elimination context
  • Integration of NTD surveillance activities in a post-elimination context
  • The balance of NTD services and coverage within the context of UHC: more services for less people or fewer services for more people?
  • Opportunities to use existing NTD programs to strengthen the health system (research, operations, metrics, training) and their reach to address the needs of hard to reach populations 

With this call, the NTD-SC seeks proposals that are nested within national programs and which establish a foundation for integrating programmatic activities targeting NTDs into national health systems. Proposals should include a focus on lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis, schistosomiasis, trachoma, or leprosy. Projects will be funded with UK aid from the British government through the NTD-SC which serves as Secretariat for the Coalition for Operational Research on NTDs (COR-NTD).  Selected projects should be aligned with WHO’s disease-specific targets and guidelines. 

Applications will be evaluated based on the following:

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


Maximum duration of the project: All research activities must be concluded by 31 March 2021.

Submissions are made through a web form:

Deadline for submission: August 30, 2019 at 11:59 PM EDT