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Innovations in Eliminating Neglected Tropical Diseases

Innovations in Eliminating Neglected Tropical Diseases


The elimination of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) is feasible but its progress is hindered by the suboptimal implementation of available interventions. Challenges faced by NTD programs can range from poor targeting of interventions, low treatment coverage among specific sub-groups, and lack of surveillance systems that can meet the sensitivity and specificity requirements for the endgame of disease elimination. These challenges could be addressed by the development of innovative solutions but also by the application of existing tools and technologies which are effectively used by other health programs, including polio, malaria and immunization. We see an opportunity to identify and demonstrate feasibility of innovative solutions and new applications of existing technologies to address the challenges faced by national NTD programs in mapping, targeting, disease and vector surveillance, and other endgame strategies.

The Challenge

We have partnered with Kikundi, a community of practice for NTD program managers in Africa, to identify areas for transformational innovation in service of national NTD programs. We invite proposals that will address one or more of the following areas:

  • Methods to rapidly map NTDs, including integrated mapping
  • Methods to better target existing interventions
  • Strategies to target subgroups routinely missed by programs
  • Approaches to vector surveillance
  • Integrated surveillance that leverages other health surveillance platforms
  • Strategies for post-elimination surveillance, including cross-border surveillance.

Funding level: up to USD $200,000 for each project, with a grant term of up to 18 months depending on the scope of the project.

We are looking for proposals that:

  • Are led by institutions, which could be ministries of health, based in sub-Saharan Africa or South Asia (other global partners may be included but at least 80% of funding should go to sub-Saharan Africa or South Asia)
  • Demonstrate partnership with national NTD programs
  • Propose innovations and applications that are scalable
  • Have a plan for how the proposed solution would be tested or validated, and report its impact on NTD elimination goals and program efficiency

We will not consider proposals that:

  • Do not include a lead investigator from an NTD-endemic country
  • Do not consider explicit collaboration with endemic country governments, government NTD programs and/or partners
  • Focus on current NTD intervention delivery or piloting of tools already used by NTD programs
  • Do not outline a clear path forward to scale and sustainable impact

Great ideas come from everywhere.

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View the Grand Challenges partnership network

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is part of the Grand Challenges partnership network. Visit www.grandchallenges.org to view the map of awarded grants across this network and grant opportunities from partners.
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