Crown Agents works in several countries in Africa and south Asia to support national programmes for Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD). We are committed to helping governments bring the delivery of NTDs into mainstream health care services, and improving supply chains and data systems underpinning NTDs. Together with our partners, Oriole Global Health and Abt Britain, we provide comprehensive fund management for donors and technical assistance services for government partners.
Between 2019 and 2021 Crown Agents led the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office’s flagship NTD programme, Ascend, (Accelerating the Sustainable Control and Elimination of NTDs). This was a comprehensive programme including health systems strengthening projects to build national capacity to manage NTDs, as well as interventions for preventing transmission of NTDs and clinical services to manage morbidity. FCDO’s programme covered 25 countries, with Crown Agents’ lot 1 including Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Nepal, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. Lot 1 supported four ‘preventive chemotherapy’ NTDs: lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis, schistosomiasis and Trachoma as well as Visceral Leishmaniasis.
A raft of case studies and lessons from this programme, from improvement in cross-sector collaboration between WASH and NTDs; costing NTD masterplans; improving supply chains through visibility of medicines to the last mile; Reaching children living on the street during MDAs; and the changing role of Community Health Workers during Covid-19; an assessment of Knowledge Gaps about Female Genital Schistosomiasis; the role of MEL secondees in Ascend, can be found here.
The Ascend programme closed in 2021 as part of the UKAid cuts and was succeeded by projects funded by The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and The End Fund:
- In east and southern Africa, Crown Agents supports government NTD programmes to combat schistosomiasis, soil transmitted helminths and lymphatic filariasis. In Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania/Zanzibar and Uganda those affected by these debilitating vector-borne diseases are infected through water contact, mosquitos bites and poor sanitation and hygiene. Through $13.8 million of emergency funding provided by The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), the team delivers technical support to Ministries of Health for precision mapping and impact surveys, as well as mass drug administration (MDA) campaigns.
- In Bangladesh and Nepal, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is funding elimination efforts against the deadly NTD, visceral leishmaniasis (VL), including surveillance and diagnosis, training, community awareness, active case management and the procurement of diagnostic kits.
- The END Fund also supports visceral leishmaniasis management – in Uganda and Sudan. The World Health Organization estimates 50,000 to 90,000 new cases of this disease occur globally every year, and if left untreated it is fatal in over 95% of cases. Even for those affected by cutaneous and mucocutaneous forms of the disease that don’t cause death, disability and permanent injury is common.
Find out more about these programme below.