The COUNTDOWN programme

This innovative research programme into neglected tropical diseases ran from 2014 to 2021. Here you can learn more and access helpful tools and resources.

A woman wearing a green dress stands in a field, with many other people surrounding her. A man is standing next to her, and using a numbered measuring stick to measure how tall she is.

COUNTDOWN was a seven-year programme of research into neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) including river blindness, lymphatic filariasis, schistosomiasis and intestinal worms.

Sightsavers carried out a range of research projects in Nigeria as part of COUNTDOWN, in collaboration with the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and with the health ministries of Kaduna, Kwara and Ogun states. Our researchers worked alongside local communities to find practical solutions in the fight against these diseases.

The research team have now published a range of tools, training manuals and other useful resources both for researchers and for staff who work on NTD programmes. Choose one of the six projects below to access these resources.

Our Countdown research projects

A woman sits on a bench in front of a pale green wall. She is smiling at the camera and has one of her legs out. She has visibile signs of lymphatic filariasis, a neglected tropical disease that makes the limbs swell.

Improving the detection and referral of skin NTDs

This study explored how to detect and refer cases of skin NTDs at an earlier stage, to improve health outcomes for affected patients. Read the skin NTDs study

A woman stands at the front of a classroom and demonstrates something on a whiteboard. In the classroom, several adults and a child watch her presentation.

Promoting community engagement in drug treatment campaigns

This study focused on developing a participatory approach to planning drug treatment programmes, and the cost and impact of scaling it up. Read the engagement study

Two women sit on chairs opposite one another. One woman practises bandaging the leg of the other woman. Both women are wearing headscarves, and have facemasks over their nose and mouth.

Setting up support systems for people with skin NTDs

This study, in Nigeria, involved setting up support groups to improve the health and wellbeing of people with stigmatising skin diseases. Read the support systems study

Five girls are holding a hand out showing medication as part of a deworrming project in Nigeria.

Improving the management of female genital schistosomiasis (FGS)

This study focused on training health workers to improve the care, treatment and referral for women and girls affected by female genital FGS. Read the FGS study

A man wearing a colourful facemask looks into the camera. He is wearing a white uniform that suggests that he is a health worker

Exploring COVID-19's impact on health workers' wellbeing

This study explored the experiences of frontline health workers during the pandemic, recommending strategies to support their wellbeing. Read the COVID-19 impact study

A woman wearing a high-visibility jacket holds up an infrared thermometer and points it at another woman. Both women are wearing facemasks.

Assessing health workers’ willingness to work during the pandemic

This study examined NTD health workers’ knowledge and attitudes about COVID-19, and their willingness to work during health shocks. Read the willingness to work study

Want to read more about our latest research?

Our research projects

More on Sightsavers’ research

A person writes on a paper spreadsheet. Only their hand is visible.
Sightsavers from the field

“A thing of joy”: celebrating seven years of the COUNTDOWN programme

This major research programme, which ended in 2021, has supported people with neglected tropical diseases to speak out about their illnesses and how they would like to be treated.

November 2021
Kareen Atekem is shown in a yellow Sightsavers top standing outside next to a Sightsavers vehicle.
sightsavers_news

Sightsavers researcher wins recognition for innovative NTD project

Kareen Atekem's work on a new project to help control and eliminate two neglected tropical diseases has been recognised by the NTD Innovation Prize competition.

September 2021
Edith with Atugonza, one of the graduates of the Connecting the Dots programme.
Sightsavers blog

Why tackling disability discrimination is key to employment projects

As part of our Connecting the Dots project in Uganda, we tested a new way of boosting employment rates by influencing communities, families and businesses to act more positively toward people with disabilities.

Edith Kagoya, June 2021