SCI Foundation is now Unlimit Health. Learn more about what the change means for our ongoing efforts to eliminate neglected tropical diseases
The World Health Organization (WHO) guidance to temporarily suspend all programmes delivering mass treatment for neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) such as schistosomiasis in order to protect vulnerable populations from the dangers of COVID-19, has put many of the activities we support on hold.
But our determination to end people’s suffering from the devastating effects of tropical diseases means that we are using this time to prepare and adapt our workplans, so our support for treatment can resume quickly as restrictions are removed.
Planning for our programmes to restart
We are currently working with Ministries of Health (MoH) in all the countries where we work on a number of issues. For example, we are identifying the impact that the suspension has on the programmes we support, taking into account multiple factors including the availability of drugs.
We have developed tools to help MoH to assess the risks associated with undertaking mass drug administration and associated surveys in the context of COVID-19 keeping in mind current restrictions, social distancing and other recommended safety measures.
We are also working with MOH programmes on mitigation planning to modify or adapt their programmes accordingly.
As health investments may have shifted towards the COVID-19 response in many countries, we are also working to identify resource gaps which may have been introduced as a result of COVID-19 activities.
We are keen to ensure that the momentum and many achievements made towards control and elimination of NTDs are not negatively impacted as a result of COVID-19. We remain poised to support Ministries of Health to continue their successes as we move forward in these unprecedented times.
Supporting COVID-19 efforts at home
Finally, SCIF’s NHS-qualified staff members are currently supporting the UK’s track and tracing efforts in response to COVID-19, and one of them is helping to plug the gap during staff shortages in a care home setting. SCIF applauds that they put their knowledge and are able to make a contribution at one of the UK’s greatest hours of need.