This is an Evaluation of DFID’s 2012-17 grant to WHO-NTD, the Geneva-based headquarters of the WHO’s fight against Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs). In a pioneering approach, a key element of DFID’s grant was to fund three staff positions within WHO-NTD: a health economist, a logistician and a programme epidemiologist. Unusually DFID also provided specific support to WHO-NTD for the neglected tropical disease visceral leishmaniasis (VL).
Our conclusion is that this has been very successful, with each of the three staff members contributing significantly to essential activities in WHO-NTD’s continued progress against the diseases, itself reflected in the strong performance against logframe indicators (one indicator, relating to integration, was not met but a revision to this is proposed):
- Economic evidence has been developed and disseminated, including via peer-reviewed publications. The health economist has led this work, as well as a successful campaign to have NTDs included in the Sustainable Development Goals (Chapter 3).
- Largescale drug donations have been better managed than prior to 2012, expanding WHO-NTD’s reach to ever more people who suffer from the diseases. The software platform used for this is developed and administered by the logistician and programme epidemiologist, and has become a means to drive improved programming by countries (Chapter 4).
- Interaction with other stakeholders, including Development Partners, countries and WHO Regional and Country Offices and countries, has become increasingly effective, even as some capacity challenges remain.
- Data is increasingly gathered and used by WHO-NTD. This has been strongly influenced by both the economic evidence and drug donation software platform referred to above.
- Partly as a result of these improvements, significant additional resources have been mobilised, from international development partners, pharmaceutical companies and, gradually, from endemic countries. WHO-NTD is facilitating a series of in-country dialogues to stimulate further the last of these sources.
- The inclusion of NTDs already in the SDGs and (from early 2018) in the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) scorecards, will help keep NTDs high on policy agendas, and should make further resources likely also.
While hard to quantify and attribute precisely, it is likely that DFID’s investment in these three staff positions has yielded excellent returns and the elimination of some NTDs has been brought sooner than it otherwise would.
Whitaker, D., Franzen, S. and Ollier, L. (2018). World Health Organization Department of Neglected Tropical Diseases: Support for Capacity Strengthening and Visceral Leishmaniasis Programme Coordination (2012–2017). London, UK: High-Quality Technical Assistance for Results (HEART).