Neglected tropical diseases activities in Africa in the COVID-19 era: the need for a “hybrid” approach in COVID-endemic times


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:

  • 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.
  • 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.


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Publication details
Date published
4 January 2021
Opinion piece