Integrated Control and Management of Neglected Tropical Skin Diseases

19 Jan 2019
Mitjà O, Marks M, Bertran L, Kollie K, Argaw D, Fahal AH, Fitzpatrick C, Claire Fuller LC, Izquierdo BG, Hay R, Ishii N, Johnson C, Lazarus JV, Meka A, Murdoch M, Ohene S-A, Small P, Steer A, Tabah EN, Tiendrebeogo A, Waller L, Yotsu R, Walker SL, Asiedu K,

Several NTDs exhibit significant cutaneous manifestations that are associated with long-term disfigurement and disability, including Buruli ulcer (BU); cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL); leprosy; mycetoma; yaws; hydrocele and lymphoedema (resulting from lymphatic filariasis); and depigmentation, subcutaneous nodules, severe itching, and hanging groin (resulting from onchocerciasis). Skin examination offers an opportunity to screen people in the communities or children in schools to identify multiple conditions in a single visit. This common approach to skin diseases justifies the integrated delivery of health care interventions to both increase cost-effectiveness and expand coverage.

WHO’s Department of Control of NTDs (WHO/NTD) plans to promote an integrated strategy for the skin NTDs requiring IDM. Targeting skin NTDs also provides a platform for treatment of common skin conditions and, therefore, has wider public health benefits. An informal panel of experts (writing this manuscript) was established to help develop guidance in support of the new WHO strategic direction and to develop a proposal for a change in policy for the integrated control and management of the skin NTDs.

A symposium at the 2015 ASTMH meeting[1] initiated a discussion of opportunities around integration of surveillance and control of NTDs that affect the skin, but this paper moves these ideas forward and includes some initial recommendations about how these opportunities could be realised. We aim to provide specific pragmatic information and actual recommendations about potential surveillance and management approaches.