WHO Outlines Considerations for Implementing Mass Treatment, Active Case-Finding and Population-Based Surveys for Neglected Tropical Diseases in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic

On July 27, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) published a new document, titled "Considerations for implementing mass treatment, active case‐finding and population-based surveys for neglected tropical diseases in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic," which contains a decision-making framework for NTD mass treatment, case-finding, and population-based surveys in the COVID-19 context. 

Intended for health authorities, NTD program managers and implementing partners, the updated WHO guidance proposes the following approach: conducting a risk–benefit assessment to decide if the planned activity should proceed; and determining which precautionary measures need to be applied to decrease the risk of COVID-19 transmission associated with the activity. It also recommends examining measures that should be taken to strengthen the capacity of the health system to manage any residual risk.

The guidance released on July 27 expands on the previous WHO guidance for community-based healthcare in the context of COVID-19, published on May 5, 2020, and titled “Community-based health care, including outreach and campaigns, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic,” which was aimed at both neglected tropical diseases (NTD) programs and other public health intervention programs.

The guidance of May 5 contains specific considerations for national NTD programs and outlines activities that should be temporary suspended or continued with strict precautions in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Additional information and WHO guidance relating to priority public health interventions, facility-based care, and risk communication and community engagement in the setting of the COVID-19 pandemic are available on the WHO website.

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Excerpts from Community-based health care, including outreach and campaigns, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic