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Combatting Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs)


  • Helping 11 countries control and eliminate Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs)
  • Building local capacity to enable sustainable, scalable NTD programmes
  • Millions reached through preventative and curative treatments and behaviour change communication.
The Challenge

Ascend Lot 1 – The UK Government’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) set out to invest £100 million in 11 countries in East and Southern Africa and South Asia to advance the impact and sustainability of national programmes tackling NTDs. Activities, which ended early following FCDO’s Official Development Assistance budget reduction, included prevention and treatment, integration of NTD programmes within domestic health systems, strengthening the national health system, targeting and monitoring data, and cross-sectoral coordination.

Post FCDO funding, the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) is providing ARISE-NTDs US$13.8 million of emergency support for work in four countries. The programme focuses on preventative treatments and surveys for lymphatic filariasis (LF) and schistosomiasis. Additionally, Abt works on two other NTD programmes. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation-funded programme  provides emergency funding for visceral leishmaniasis (VL) elimination in Bangladesh and Nepal. And the END Fund contract  supports the governments of Uganda and Sudan in continuing the crucial work started under Ascend Lot 1.

The Approach

Ascend Lot 1 was implemented by a consortium led by Crown Agents, including Abt Global, Oriole Global Health, and the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT). Central to the approach was close collaboration with partner governments and other implementing partners to enhance national approaches to NTD control and elimination. The results were more integrated, cost-effective, and sustainable programmes. Support included:

  • Technical assistance to improve government capacity for NTD programming
  • Direct treatment interventions via government
  • Procurement of services from the non-government sector.

Crown Agents also leads the ARISE-NTDs consortium, which includes Abt and Oriole Global Health. The programme provides emergency funding for 12 months and will adapt to tackle COVID-19 challenges. The ARISE-NTDs consortium will continue to work with partner governments to increase national ownership of NTD services for control and elimination.

The Results

The impact of Covid-19 suspended programme delivery for much of 2020, but Ascend was able to adapt through extensive COVID-19 mitigation measures. Cumulatively, since the start of the programme, Ascend Lot 1:

  • Delivered drugs through 21 mass drug administration campaigns to 70.2 million people in 10 Ascend geographies
  • Delivered 21 million treatments for soil-transmitted helminth, bringing the number of treatments the programme delivered to more than 91 million
  • Reached 39,319 people for morbidity management and disability prevention for LF and trachoma and treated 6,887 people for VL
  • Trained more than 312,000 front-line staff over two years, including community drug distributors, case finders, health workers, and surgeons
  • Mapped 340 implementing units in nine countries
  • Sent behaviour change communication messaging to 59,401,362 people

Results from ARISE-NTDs will be published in due course.

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