WHO issues guidance to support the resumption of NTD activities in the context of COVID-19

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World Health Organization logo/ Story: WHO issues guidance to support the resumption of NTD activities in the context of COVID-19

The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued interim guidance for the implementation of mass treatment interventions, active case-finding campaigns and population-based surveys in the context of COVID-19 as of 27 July 2020. This interim guidance supersedes earlier guidance published in May 2020.

The latest guidance note was developed to inform health authorities, NTD programme managers and supporting partners by proposing a decision-making framework with a two-step approach:

  1. a risk-benefit assessment, to decide if planned activity should proceed; and
  2. an examination of a list of precautionary measures that should be applied with the aim of decreasing the risk of transmission of COVID-19 associated with the activity and strengthening the capacity of the health system to manage any residual risk.

“COVID-19 threatens to disrupt the significant progress made to date towards eliminating trachoma as a public health problem as reported in the WHO Epidemiological Record on July 24,” said Scott McPherson, Chair of the International Coalition for Trachoma Control. “Mass-treatment interventions, active case-finding campaigns and population-based surveys are critical to achieve targets for trachoma and other NTDs. The trachoma community welcomes this WHO guidance, which will help to regain momentum towards trachoma targets, as we continue to reorient our approaches to support resilient, sustainable health systems, capable of weathering current and future pandemics”.

As published on ICTC