Nigeria—Integrated Approach to Neglected Tropical Diseases (UNITED)

Client: U.K. Department for International Development

Duration: 2013-2019

Region: Sub-Saharan Africa

Country: Nigeria

Solutions: Global Health

The Integrated Approach to Neglected Tropical Diseases (UNITED) programme supports the Nigerian government in controlling seven neglected tropical diseases (NTD)—blinding trachoma, bilharzia, elephantiasis, river blindness, hookworm, whipworm, and roundworm.

The targeted NTDs are preventable with proven, cost-effective interventions, such as mass drug administration, which involves distributing four drugs once or twice a year to everyone in a community to prevent the seven diseases. As many of the NTDs are tackled using similar community mechanisms, an integrated programme implementation approach is used, in which drugs for different diseases are administered at the same time. The UNITED programme has reached 39 million people with annual mass treatment to reduce illness, and distributed more than 110 million treatments in northern states of Kano, Katsina, Zamfara, Kaduna, and Niger.

Devs----Nigeria-UNITED-5.jpgPresenting the master plan for Kaduna State, Nigeria, to address neglected tropical diseases.

Led by Sightsavers, the consortium also comprises Helen Keller International, CBM, MITOSATH, Carter Centre, the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine – Centre for Neglected Tropical Diseases, the London Centre for NTD Research, the Partnership for Child Development and the Schistosomiasis Control Initiative, Imperial College, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the Natural History Museum, Accenture Development Partnerships, and Crown Agents.

DAI Global Health is responsible for the health systems strengthening workstream, which involves budget advocacy to ensure political commitment and spending for NTDs. UNITED has successfully built capacities at national and sub-national levels on resource mobilization for NTDs programmes and, in collaboration with partners, contributed to the government allocating budget lines for NTDs in the UNITED-supported states. The programme has also led to the integration of some NTDs intervention areas into the overall health sector agenda to maximize available resources from other disease interventions for NTDs programme.

Sample Activities

  • Strengthen health system coordination structures.
  • Integrate NTDs into overall health sector agenda.
  • Build capacity for coordination, leadership, and management of NTDs programmes at national and subnational levels.
  • Support policy development for NTDs programming.

Select Results

  • Established functional NTDs technical advisory committees in the UNITED-supported states and provided technical leadership to state NTDs teams for improved service delivery.
  • Developed NTDs-civil society engagement framework that provides strategies for collaborating toward budget advocacy for NTDs.
  • Facilitated the endorsement of NTDs strategic plans 2015–2020 by various state governments.
  • Supported development of national NTDs-water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) engagement framework for strengthened collaboration.
  • Implemented capacity building plans at national and subnational levels.


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