Baseline Mapping of Neglected Tropical Diseases in Africa: The Accelerated WHO/AFRO Mapping Project

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  • 1 Expanded Special Project for Elimination of NTDs, World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa, Brazzaville, Republic of Congo;
  • 2 IST for Eastern and Southern Africa, World Health Organization, Harare, Zimbabwe;
  • 3 World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa, Brazzaville, Republic of Congo;
  • 4 World Health Organization, Country Office, Juba, South Sudan;
  • 5 FHI 360, Washington, District of Columbia;
  • 6 Brighton and Sussex Medical School, Brighton, United Kingdom;
  • 7 The Taskforce for Global Health, Decatur, Georgia

Mapping is a prerequisite for effective implementation of interventions against neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). Before the accelerated WHO/AFRO NTD Mapping Project was initiated in 2014, mapping efforts in many countries were frequently carried out in an ad hoc and nonstandardized fashion. In 2013, there were at least 2,200 different districts (of the 4,851 districts in the WHO African region) that still required mapping, and in many of these districts, more than one disease needed to be mapped. During its 3-year duration from January 2014 through the end of 2016, the project carried out mapping surveys for one or more NTDs in at least 2,500 districts in 37 African countries. At the end of 2016, most (90%) of the 4,851 districts had completed the WHO-required mapping surveys for the five targeted Preventive Chemotherapy (PC)-NTDs, and the impact of this accelerated WHO/AFRO NTD Mapping Project proved to be much greater than just the detailed mapping results themselves. Indeed, the AFRO Mapping Project dramatically energized and empowered national NTD programs, attracted donor support for expanding these programs, and developed both a robust NTD mapping database and data portal. By clarifying the prevalence and burden of NTDs, the project provided not only the metrics and technical framework for guiding and tracking program implementation and success but also the research opportunities for developing improved diagnostic and epidemiologic sampling tools for all 5 PC-NTDs—lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis, schistosomiasis, soil-transmitted helminthiasis, and trachoma.

Author Notes

Address correspondence to Eric A. Ottesen, The Taskforce for Global Health, Task Force for Global Health, 750 Commerce Dr., Suite 400, Decatur, GA 30030. E-mail: eottesen@taskforce.org,

Funding support: Funding support came from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (#OPP1053230), from aid from the American people (USAID) and from support by the UK Department for International Development (DfID).

Authors’ addresses: Maria P. Rebollo, Honorat G. M. Zouré, Jorge Cano, and Ekoue Boniface Kinvi, Expanded Special Project for Elimination of NTDs, World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa, Cité du Djoué, Brazzaville, Republic of Congo, E-mails: rebollopolom@who.int, zoureh@who.int, jorge.cano@lshtm.ac.uk, and kinvie@who.int. Adiele Nkasiobi Onyeze, IST for Eastern and Southern Africa, World Health Organization, Harare, Zimbabwe, E-mail: onyezea@who.int. Alexandre Tiendrebeogo and Benido Impouma, World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa, Cité du Djoué, Brazzaville, Republic of Congo, E-mails: tiendrebeogoa@who.int and impoumab@who.int. Mutale Nsakashalo Senkwe, World Health Organization, Country Office, Juba, South Sudan, E-mail: senkwem@who.int. Kisito Ogoussan, FHI 360, Washington, DC, E-mail: kogoussan@fhi360.org. Kebede Deribe, Department of Global Health and Infection, Brighton and Sussex Centre for Global Health Research, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, Brighton, United Kingdom, E-mail: kebededeka@yahoo.com. Andrew Majewski, Eric A. Ottesen, and Patrick Lammie, The Taskforce for Global Health, Decatur, GA, E-mails: amajewski@taskforce.org, eottesen@taskforce.org, and plammie@taskforce.org.

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