Infectious disease and health systems modelling for local decision making to control neglected tropical diseases.
Hollingsworth TD., Langley I., Nokes DJ., Macpherson EE., McGivern G., Adams ER., Bockarie MJ., Mortimer K., Reimer LJ., Squire B., Torr SJ., Medley GF.
Most neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) have complex life cycles and are challenging to control. The "2020 goals" of control and elimination as a public health programme for a number of NTDs are the subject of significant international efforts and investments. Beyond 2020 there will be a drive to maintain these gains and to push for true local elimination of transmission. However, these diseases are affected by variations in vectors, human demography, access to water and sanitation, access to interventions and local health systems. We therefore argue that there will be a need to develop local quantitative expertise to support elimination efforts. If available now, quantitative analyses would provide updated estimates of the burden of disease, assist in the design of locally appropriate control programmes, estimate the effectiveness of current interventions and support 'real-time' updates to local operations. Such quantitative tools are increasingly available at an international scale for NTDs, but are rarely tailored to local scenarios. Localised expertise not only provides an opportunity for more relevant analyses, but also has a greater chance of developing positive feedback between data collection and analysis by demonstrating the value of data. This is essential as rational program design relies on good quality data collection. It is also likely that if such infrastructure is provided for NTDs there will be an additional impact on the health system more broadly. Locally tailored quantitative analyses can help achieve sustainable and effective control of NTDs, but also underpin the development of local health care systems.