Sightsavers Reports

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:

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.


A billboard tells passers-by about how to protect themselves from coronavirus. The billboard includes a picture of a man wearing a mask, and another picture of someone washing their hands.
Opinion piece
Date published
Infectious Diseases of Poverty
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