Integrated Mapping of Skin-presenting Neglected Tropical Diseases in Liberia

Appropriate targeting of interventions for neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) that require innovative and intensified disease management (IDM) requires accurate data on the distribution of these diseases within endemic countries. In most instances however, existing case register data generated through national health management information systems or during programmatic activities do not provide an accurate representation of the true burden of IDM NTDs. This study will pilot a cluster randomized screening and confirmation survey to estimate the burden of IDM NTDs characterised by skin conditions associated with long-term disfigurement and disability. These include: leprosy, Buruli ulcer, yaws and lymphoedema and hydrocele resulting from lymphatic filariasis. The survey is being conducted in one county in Liberia.

The protocol involves community-level screening by community health volunteers trained to use photo-based visual aids to recognise changes in the skin that broadly indicates patent infection. All suspected cases will be verified in their homes by local and national experts trained in the diagnosis of skin-presenting NTDs. The survey will generate accurate district-level prevalence estimates of leprosy, yaws, Buruli ulcer and lymphatic filariasis-associated lymphoedema and hydrocele and quantify the total costs and cost per case detected. In addition, results from this protocol will be compared with routinely collected case register data, to better understand how health system records reflect the true disease situation on the ground and quantify unmet need.

Primary LCNTDR organisation

External partners

Liberia Ministry of Health