Dr. Ida Ngowi, an eye specialist, led the eye department for the Tanzania Ministry of Health for many years before her retirement. She then served as a master trainer for the IMA World Health-led SAFE Project, training and overseeing surgical nurses in Tanzania.

IMA World Health is committed to combatting neglected tropical diseases (NTDs)

  • Robin Schmid
  • Jan 30, 2023

In honor of World NTD Day, IMA World Health is pausing to acknowledge the hard work and partnership that has helped to bring the global goals for controlling and eliminating neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) ever closer.

IMA World Health has been working to address NTDs for more than 20 years in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. Work must continue to move the needle toward the World Health Organization's (WHO’s) 2030 control and elimination goals.

The WHO estimates that NTDs affect over 1.7 billion people worldwide. This group of diseases primarily impacts those living in poverty, who lack access to basic hygiene and sanitation, with women and children disproportionately affected. Preventing, controlling and eliminating NTDs is critical, as they impact the achievement of most health and development indicators. NTDs cause significant mortality and morbidity, accounting for approximately 200,000 deaths per year and 19 million disability adjusted life years lost annually.

With supply chain disruptions and overwhelmed health systems, reaching remote areas and operating in fragile settings is now more challenging than ever before to combat NTDs.

Advancing NTD Prevention, Control and Treatment

IMA World Health has supported NTD projects in Haiti, Tanzania, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ghana, Senegal, Uganda and India to take significant steps towards NTD prevention, control, and treatment through interventions such as the provision of diagnostics and pharmaceuticals, surgeries to prevent blinding trachoma, and the implementation of mass drug administrations (MDAs).

Learn more about our current projects across the globe:

Dalin Bakari Ngalanga heals following her IMA World Health-supported trachoma surgery at the Mkuranga District Hospital near Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.
South Sudan

In South Sudan, IMA World Health partners with the END Fund to build on more than seven years of IMA World Health-supported national efforts to combat visceral leishmaniasis (VL). In South Sudan, over two million people, across four states, are at risk of contracting VL, a debilitating NTD that is approximately 95 percent fatal if left untreated.

By partnering with the END Fund, IMA World Health is advancing local leadership to strengthen health systems for VL control as well as integrating VL diagnosis and treatment in 25 primary health care facilities in disease-prevalent counties. In the first 18 months of programming, 1,187 patients were enrolled in treatment, 262 medical personnel were trained in diagnosis and treatment, 75 community health volunteers were engaged to support active case detection and promote community awareness, and more than 4,309 people were reached by advocacy and sensitization activities.


Since 2014, IMA World Health has also led NTD programming across five regions in Tanzania, through the SAFE project, targeting 19 trachoma-endemic districts inhabited by nearly 4 million people. The SAFE project, funded by Sightsavers, focuses on strengthening district-level eye care departments, providing the technical and managerial skills and capacity to independently treat trachoma-related blindness by facilitating case finding and organizing field outreach surgeries in accordance with WHO’s SAFE strategy for trachoma control.

By partnering with government-sponsored clinics and tapping into faith-based networks, IMA World Health focuses on strengthening local capacity and has been able to implement in some of the most remote, hard to reach settings in Tanzania. As of December 2022, IMA World Health has managed more than 12,000 trachomatous trichiasis (TT) cases and trained 3,658 community case finders along with 57 screeners, 76 assistant surgeons and 23 surgeons.


Through the CDC-funded Elimination of Lymphatic Filariasis in Haiti project, IMA World Health works closely with the Haiti Neglected Tropical Disease Control Program (HNTDCP) to develop evidence-based LF technical guidance documents and implement awareness activities to enable communities to prevent, treat and control LF. Through the project, IMA World Health is supporting the rollout of triple drug (IDA) therapy for LF for the first time ever in Haiti.

Despite the extremely challenging security context in Haiti, the country team has worked to improve drug access among hard-to-reach populations, conducted a school census to better understand the population requiring treatment and collaborated closely with key local stakeholders, such as religious leaders and teachers, to gain community acceptance.

Health Systems Strengthening for NTD Elimination

In continuing efforts to control and eliminate NTDs, we prioritize health systems strengthening to build resilience now and for the future. IMA World Health, with collaboration and support from donors, partners and communities, is proud to be in pursuit of health, healing and well-being for all in a world free of NTDs.

Katina Sommers, IMA World Health Technical Program Director, remarks:

NTD programs are most effective in reaching populations in the greatest need of services when projects are designed through collaboration with local stakeholders and health systems. Our NTD projects focus on building NTD prevention and control efforts at the field level, to ensure sustainable programming that can be handed over to local health systems, lasting well beyond the life of the programs.

IMA World Health will continue combating NTDs, even in the most challenging of settings, to ensure a brighter future for all.