Stronger Together: Evidence for collaborative action on NTDs from the COUNTDOWN consortium published in International Health supplement

24 Mar 2023
Credit: Olorunfemi Temitope

Multidisciplinary research programme COUNTDOWN has published a collection of implementation research studies focused on improving the equity and efficiency of health systems interventions to control and eliminate seven Neglected Tropical Diseases, in a supplement for RSTMH open-access journal International Health.

Drawing on evidence from across the 7 years of the COUNTDOWN consortium, the research presented within the supplement took a broad health systems approach by conducting research at each of the health care layers from policy to community and individual. Co-production with those with lived experience, health workers, and policy makers is at the heart of all the studies, emphasising the important value of togetherness that was central to the COUNTDOWN research consortium.  

COUNTDOWN gave us the leverage to drive…we DROVE the agenda in terms of implementation research. So, there was not people from Liverpool coming and giving us questions as to what it is we need to do- we said ‘these are the challenges we are having, can we do research in this [area]…the learnings we have had have shaped the future direction of our programme and national Master Plan as it was designed to address our evidence gaps."

Karsor Kollie, NTD Programme Director, Ministry of Health, Liberia

The supplement emphasises collective learnings from across the 4 country contexts where COUNTDOWN’s legacy remains (Ghana, Cameroon, Liberia and Nigeria). By taking a health system approach to co-produce the papers within this supplement, they show that by working together across research disciplines; together with affected persons and their communities; together with national governments and their health systems; together across diseases and geographic boundaries; and together as scientists and programme implementers, we can achieve more as an NTD community on our journey to 2030.

COUNTDOWN centred capacity strengthening and leadership of our partners in Ghana, Nigeria, Liberia and Cameroon. The successes we have had are evident by the diverse leadership and authorship of the studies in this supplement."

Rachael Thomson, COUNTDOWN Director

The articles included in the supplement are: 

  • Editorial -  Stronger Together: Evidence for collaborative action on NTDs. Rachael Thomson, Laura Dean, Kim Ozano
  • Lessons from participatory community mapping to inform Neglected Tropical Disease programmes in Nigeria. Luret Lar
  • Mixed-methods evaluation of integrating Female Genital Schistosomiasis management within primary health care: A pilot intervention in Ogun State, Nigeria. Helen Piotrowski
  • A quality improvement approach in co-developing a primary health care package for raising awareness and managing Female Genital Schistosomiasis (FGS) in Nigeria and Liberia. Akinola Oluwole 
  • Incorporating the diagnosis and management of Female Genital Schistosomiasis in Primary health care in Liberia: a mixed methods pilot study. Motto Nganda Anthony Bettee
  • Job Satisfaction among Community Directed Distributors in the Mass Administration of Medicine Programme in Nigeria: A cross-sectional study. Eve Worrall
  • Promoting equity through inclusive learning, planning and implementing: Lessons from Nigeria's Mass Drug  Administration programme for Neglected Tropical Diseases. Helen Piotrowski
  • A mixed methods evaluation of an integrated training package for skin neglected tropical diseases in Kaduna and Ogun, Nigeria. Luret Lar
  • A Holistic Approach to Wellbeing and Neglected Tropical Diseases: Evaluating the Percieved Impact of Community-Led Support Groups in Nigeria using Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR). Shahreen Chowdhury
  • Exploring the wellbeing of people affected by Skin NTDs in Kaduna and Kwara States Nigeria: A photovoice and scoping review study. Oluwatosin Adekeye
  • Exploring the impact of COVID-19 on frontline health workers through a photovoice study in Kaduna, Kwara and Ogun States, Nigeria. Dupe Yahemba

Read the supplement here.