REDRESS - Reducing the burden on severe stigmatising skin diseases

REDRESS - Reducing the burden on severe stigmatising skin diseases

Project 8 Jun 2021

REDRESS is a £3.5 million programme awarded to LSTM from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) with an aim to reduce illness, stigma, social exclusion, and poverty caused by severe stigmatising skin diseases in Liberia.

Liberia is one of the first countries in the world to develop a national approach to managing diseases which affect the skin (e.g. lymphatic filariasis, leprosy, Buruli ulcer, yaws, and onchocerciasis), however, evidence is limited about patient knowledge, priorities and experiences, and the equity and effectiveness of the current approach. REDRESS will develop new knowledge on affordable, timely, appropriate, and improved treatment strategies that also reduce stigma and address other social issues for affected vulnerable populations. REDRESS has been co-developed between researchers, patients, and programme implementers at the request of the Liberian Neglected Tropical Disease programme and directly responds to priority health needs, detailed in the country’s ‘Investment Plan for Building a Resilient Health System’.

Centre for Capacity Research Objectives

The goal of the Centre for Capacity Research’s input to REDRESS  is to conduct a laboratory assessment and gap analysis around the capacity of the Liberian National Reference Laboratory for the diagnosis of Buruli Ulcer. CCR researchers are using a tool they had previously developed for assessments of  laboratories that focused on other neglected tropical diseases. The tool helps to audit the National Reference Laboratory against international standards for laboratory quality management and safety (ISO 15189 and 15190) but also incorporates issues of sustainability and linkages with other parts of the diagnostic pathway for Buruli Ulcer. Once the assessment is complete, the results can be used by laboratories to develop detailed activities on how to address any capacity gaps along with itemisation of the resources required, the responsible lead person, the likely date of completion, and what evidence is required to document completion. Quarterly joint reviews of progress with in-country staff and detailed annual reviews will help to identify what activities were successful, what challenges were faced, and how to adapt to these challenges.

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