Integrated Approach to Neglected Tropical Diseases, Nigeria

The Integrated Approach to Neglected Tropical Diseases in Northern Nigeria programme (UNITED) aims to support the Nigerian government in controlling seven Neglected Tropical Diseases (blinding trachoma, bilharzia, elephantiasis, river blindness, hookworm, whipworm and roundworm).

Health Partners International (HPI) is responsible for the health systems strengthening workstream under the UNITED programme. We are working with the Ministry of Health and other key stakeholders at federal and state level, to ensure that the national NTD control programme has the most appropriate structure, resources, capacity, plans and budgets, as well as effective coordination mechanisms across different levels of the health system. A robust health system will contribute to improving the provision of sustainable mass drug distribution, broad based communication and coordination, as well as effective use of drugs at all levels.

The targeted Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) are preventable with proven, cost effective interventions, such as mass drug administration (MDA), which involves distributing four drugs once or twice a year to everyone in a community to prevent the seven diseases.

These drugs are donated, in whole or in part, by pharmaceutical companies, and distributed by community volunteers. MDA costs less than $0.50 to treat one person for a year, with the resulting cost effectiveness of less than $10 per disability adjusted life year (DALY) averted.

As many of the NTDs are tackled using similar community mechanisms, an integrated programme implementation approach will be used, in which drugs for different diseases are administered at the same time.

By 2016, the programme will reach 13.8 million people, with annual MDA to reduce illness, and will have distributed over 110 million treatments in the three northern states of Kano, Katsina and Zamfara. Funded by DFID, the four year programme comprises five key areas of activity:

  • Mapping of NTDs
  • Mass drug administration
  • Communication and coordination
  • Drug supply chain management
  • Health systems strengthening

Led by Sightsavers, the consortium also comprises Health Partners International, Helen Keller International, CBM, MITOSATH, Carter Centre, the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine – Centre for Neglected Tropical Diseases (LSTM-CNTD) and the London Centre for NTD Research (comprising the Partnership for Child Development and the Schistosomiasis Control Initiative (SCI), Imperial College, University of London; the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), and the Natural History Museum), Accenture Development Partnerships and Crown Agents. 

Technical leads for HPI: Emmanuel Sokpo and Sunil Mehra
Health Management Strengthening Advisor: Blessing Stephens

Read the Mid-term evaluation report here.