This paper argues that the treatment of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) in Africa should not be postponed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. In fact, the resumption of NTD treatment programmes, with their focus on hand-washing and sanitation, can be leveraged to reduce the spread of Covid-19 on the African continent.
The article showcases how the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office-supported Ascend NTD programme in West and Central Africa was able to “flex” to support both Covid-19 control and the continuation of NTD programme activities.
The authors highlight:
1) the Risk Assessment and Mitigation tools that have been adopted by national NTD programmes to ensure that commencement of NTD activities poses minimal risk to Covid-19 spread.
2) the Ascend-supported Covid-19 activities.
The “hybrid” approach describes the mutual leveraging of resources and strategies for the benefit of both programmes and an underpinning effort to facilitate health systems strengthening, integration and cross-sector collaboration.