Dr. Deogratias Damas at the Global Health and Innovation Conference 2014

Dr. Deogratias Damas, Senior Program Manager for IMA World Health Tanzania, recently delivered a poster presentation at the Global Health and Innovation Conference, presented by Unite for Sight, held April 12-13, 2014 at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.

Dr. Damas’ poster was titled, “Understanding Barriers to Effective Community Based Mass Drug Administration (MDA).”

His presentation highlighted IMA’s work through the Tanzania Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD) Control Program – funded by USAID through RTI International – to oversee community directed treatment of five NTDs common in Tanzania. It also discussed the findings of a Post MDA Coverage Survey that IMA and partners conducted in 2012 to understand the barriers to effective MDA with the hopes of improving program effectiveness.

The data from the survey suggested that there was an issue in coverage and non-compliance. Of the 12,727 people surveyed, over 50% of those identified as non-compliant (i.e. did not take the drugs) did not participate due to reasons related to the community drug distributors (CDDs), who organize and promote the local drug distributions. These barriers to participation included the CDD did not visit the household, the person was not home when the CDD visited, or the person did not know about that MDA was occurring. Thus, the reasons for non-compliance also suggest that a bigger proportion of non-compliance is a result of inadequate community sensitization/mobilization towards MDA.

Recommendations from the survey included:

  • Findings from post MDA coverage surveys can contribute significantly to informed decision making for country specific NTD Control Programs helping them to make necessary changes in their approaches to achieve higher coverage and hence elimination/control of the PCT NTDs.
  • To ensure increased coverage in community based MDAs, factors for motivation of CDDs in the context of respective districts need to be explored. This will help in understanding how best to motivate CDDs in the face of limited resources.
  • To be able to achieve higher MDA coverage, country NTD Control Programs need to allocate adequate resources and explore improvements for social and community mobilization before and during MDAs.
  • Increased MDA planning and capacity building at all levels can help to ensure the best MDA timing for increased coverage rates.

For additional information about the program, the Post LF MDA Coverage Survey and the resulting recommendations, conclusions and follow-up actions, please view the poster here.