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 supported 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. Many NTDs are tackled using similar community mechanisms, so the programme used an integrated implementation approach to administer drugs for different diseases at the same time. The UNITED programme reached more than 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.

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

DAI Global Health was responsible for the health systems strengthening work stream, which involved budget advocacy to ensure political commitment and spending for NTDs. UNITED successfully built capacities at national and sub-national levels on resource mobilization for NTDs programmes. In collaboration with partners, the program contributed to the government’s decision to allocate budget lines for NTDs in UNITED-supported states. UNITED also helped integrate of some NTDs intervention areas into the overall health sector agenda to maximize available resources from other disease interventions.

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

Sample Activities

  • Strengthen health system coordination structures.
  • Integrate NTDs into the 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 UNITED-supported states and provided technical leadership to state NTDs teams for improved service delivery.
  • Developed a NTDs and civil society engagement framework that provides strategies for collaborating toward budget advocacy for NTDs.
  • Facilitated state governments’ endorsement of strategic plans to address NTDs in 2015 to 2020.
  • Supported development of a national NTDs and water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) engagement framework for strengthened collaboration.
  • Implemented capacity building plans at national and sub-national levels.
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