ELIMINATE LYMPHATIC FILARIASIS; FOOD-BORNE TREMATODIASES; SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA; SCHISTOSOMA-JAPONICUM; INTEGRATED IMPLEMENTATION; NATIONAL SCALE; GLOBAL PROGRAM; CLIMATE-CHANGE; LAO PDR; HEALTH
Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) cause serious health, social and economic burdens in the countries of the World Health Organization Western Pacific Region. Among the NTDs, helminth infections are particularly prominent with regard to the number of infected individuals and health impact. Co-endemicity is common among impoverished and marginalized populations. To achieve effective and sustainable control of helminth NTDs, a deeper understanding of the social-ecological systems governing their endemicity and strategies beyond preventive chemotherapy are required to tackle the multiple causes of infection and re-infection. We discuss the feasibility of implementing multi-disease, multi-sectoral intervention packages for helminth NTDs in the Western Pacific Region. After reviewing the main determinants for helminth NTD endemicity and current control strategies, key control activities that involve or concern other programmes within and beyond the health sector are discussed. A considerable number of activities that have an impact on more than one helminth NTD are identified in a variety of sectors, suggesting an untapped potential for synergies. We also highlight the challenges of multi-sectoral collaboration, particularly of involving non-health sectors. We conclude that multi-sectoral collaboration for helminth NTD control is feasible if the target diseases and sectors are carefully selected. To do so, an incentive analysis covering key stakeholders in the sectors is crucial, and the disease-control strategies need to be well understood. The benefits of multi-disease, multi-sectoral approaches could go beyond immediate health impacts by contributing to sustainable development, raising educational attainment, increasing productivity and reducing health inequities. (C) 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.