SCI Foundation is now Unlimit Health. Learn more about what the change means for our ongoing efforts to eliminate neglected tropical diseases
“Accelerating programmatic action… comprehensive multi-sectoral technical assistance…”
These are useful technical terms for people working in public health and they feature heavily in the documents and discussions that informed our new five-year strategy. For those of us who don’t work in public health, though, terms like these may need some unpacking. So here’s a brief guide to some of the key concepts in our strategy:
We’ve supported over a billion treatments against parasitic infections, the majority to children, and thus have helped prevent debilitating disease in hundreds of millions of people.
We’re immensely proud of this. But there’s more to be done.
In line with the World Health Organization (WHO) road map for neglected tropical diseases 2021–2030, we now aim not only to treat parasitic disease, but to eliminate it altogether.
Evidence suggests that the existing strategies of deworming treatment, targeting school-age children, are not sufficient to achieve elimination of parasitic disease.
This is why, in addition to expanding our support for treatment to include further at-risk groups, we will address other key drivers of parasitic disease, such as unsafe water contact and transmission between animals and humans.
You can’t eliminate parasitic disease without tackling the conditions that continually create the risk of infection.
These conditions are closely related to poverty and the absence of health equity. Parasitic diseases thrive in communities which lack access to basic services such as clean water and sanitation.
This is why our new strategy emphasises support for health systems that provide the full range of quality health services – including prevention of disease transmission, treatment against, and care for parasitic disease and its consequences – for everyone who needs them.
We’ll continue to support our partner governments to deliver millions of deworming treatments every year.
We’ll also support our partners to expand their treatment programmes. Improving health for everyone requires broadening access to parasitic disease treatment for people who currently miss out – for example, younger children, women of reproductive age, and other at-risk adults.
In addition, we aim to support work targeting treatment more precisely to areas of greatest need, making treatment and elimination efforts more efficient, and their impact more sustainable.
Effective and widely-accessible health services can only be built when health system priorities – and their funding – are directed by endemic countries, who are best placed to understand the needs and priorities of their own populations. This is why, in line with the targets and goals set out under the Sustainable Development Agenda, and by the WHO, our new strategy emphasises our support for country ownership of health programmes. It’s why we’ll do all we can to put our expertise at the service of our endemic country colleagues.
If you have any comments on our new direction, or the way we communicate it, please do contact us.
By Duncan Millar, Head of Trusts and Foundations