LSTM’s research fellow Dr Michelle Stanton has launched a new website as part of the FOCAL-NTDs project, which looks into providing and disseminating relevant information, vital in the targeted control and elimination of Lymphatic filariasis, schistosomiasis and human African trypanosomiasis.
Dr Stanton is undertaking a three year fellowship funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC) and has created the website in order to disseminate information, including high resolution transmission maps and data (where available) to aid in mass drug administration programmes and vector control for three neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). She said: “The FOCAL-NTDs project aims to contribute to knowledge of factors influencing the spatial distribution of these diseases at a sub-national scale, which could help to inform national control and elimination programmes on how to better target their intervention strategies.”
The project combines statistics with geographical data and mobile technology to provide a comprehensive overview of spatial variability in disease risk without undertaking expansive and expensive surveys. Primarily focussed in Uganda and Malawi the project works with in-country partners, ministries of health as well as collaborators within LSTM using open source software and open access data to allow the approaches and results to be available to all interested parties without financial restrictions. “NTDs are a significant global health problem, affecting some of the world’s poorest communities.” Dr Stanton continued: “materials that allow for targeted strategies become increasingly important the more spatially heterogeneous or ‘focal’ a disease becomes, so that programmes can be successful in removing residual transmission hotspots within a particular area in the most cost-effective way.”
You can learn more about Dr Stanton’s work at www.focal-ntds.org