This month COUNTDOWN has been awarded additional funding of £1M from the Research and Evidence Division within Department for International Development (DFID), UK. The expanded COUNTDOWN partnership allows implementation research to be undertaken within Nigeria, in Kaduna and Ogun States. By supporting and strengthening the activities of The Federal Ministry of Health and Sightsavers, COUNTDOWN will address several context-specific issues within neglected tropical disease (NTD) control. In so doing, this will foster the scale-up and sustainability of current and future interventions, encouraging a broader inter-sectoral dialogue within the health system.
Set up in December 2014 following an initial £7 million grant allocation from DFID, COUNTDOWN will trial and evaluate new approaches to drug distribution, which target those who are currently overlooked and excluded, examining how NTD programmes can be better integrated into broader health system responses. As a push towards universal access to health services, COUNTDOWN is working to support the achievement of the 2020 targets set out in the London Declaration on NTDs.
LSTM’s Professor Russell Stothard, COUNTDOWN Director, commented “Inclusion of Nigeria into the COUNTDOWN partnership is a key step within our research programme. We aim to ensure that our research leaves a lasting legacy in Nigeria, paving a way for increased domestic funding which ultimately increases the scale and scope of NTD control. Helping Nigeria reach the WHO 2020 targets is a major driving force in our work. I sincerely hope it will lead to a tangible benefit and improvement in the health of those populations in West and Central Africa vulnerable to NTDs”.
Photo courtesy of E Herrera