Accelerating the Sustainable Control and Elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases (ASCEND)
Neglected tropical diseases, or NTDs, are a group of debilitating infectious diseases that affect over 1.6 billion people worldwide. They affect some of the world’s poorest, most marginalized and remote communities, predominantly in Africa, Asia and the Americas, costing developing economies billions of dollars every year.
In 2012, under the banner of the London Declaration, the global health community, including national governments, the UN, donors, industry and NGO's, came together to commit efforts to control and eliminate these diseases.
Accelerating Sustainable Control and elimination of NTDs (ASCEND) is a £200 million investment from the UK government’s Department for International Development, to advance the impact and sustainability of national programmes tackling NTDs.
In 2019, an international consortium, co-founded by the OGH was awarded one of the two Accelerating Sustainable Control and elimination of NTDs (ASCEND) grants.
The consortium of technical partners lead by Crown Agents, includes Oriole Global Health, Abt Associates, and the Royal Tropical Institute.
Implemented between September 2019 to March 2022, the consortium is working closely with national governments and implementation stakeholders to eliminate NTD transmission in 12 countries in South Asia, Eastern and Southern Africa. These are Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya, Sudan, South Sudan, Malawi, Ethiopia, Uganda, Zambia, Bangladesh, Nepal and India. ASCEND will focus on five NTDs: lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis, schistosomiasis, visceral leishmaniasis and trachoma.
This collaborative approach with stakeholders to strengthen national NTD control and elimination efforts is key to the consortium's goal of creating integrated, cost-effective and sustainable programmes.
To ensure that technical and delivery support maximises impact, country engagement is evidence-based, demand-led and targeted to address identified priority gaps.
Within this initiative OGH is leading on the provision of evidence-based solutions to support public health policy formulation and programme design. Included in this is a focus on evaluating the cost-effectiveness of different control options.
Specifically OGH is leading on:
• Disease epidemiology
• Technical expertise in mapping and mass drug administration (MDA)
• Impact assessments to validate and verify infection elimination
• Mathematical modelling
The ASCEND programme aims to build the capacity of country health systems to reduce the NTD burden and break the transmission cycle. It is doing this through the provision of sustainable prevention, detection, treatment and surveillance services.
The consortium's outcomes will be to:
• Scale up programme coverage and mass drug administration treatments.
• Provide surgeries to prevent cases of blindness due to trachoma.
• Reduce morbidity and disability of people with lymphatic filariasis.
• Provide early diagnosis and treatment of visceral leishmaniasis.