Neglected Tropical Diseases

Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) affect as many as one billion people around the world and cause chronic suffering, disability, and an equally crippling social stigma.

IMA World Health’s first field-based project, launched in the late 1990s in Tanzania, responded to the NTD onchocerciasis or River Blindness. In the two decades since, IMA World Health has become a recognized leader of successful NTD programs around the world. IMA works to control and eliminate NTDs through two key approaches:

  1. Mass drug administration (MDA), or the administration of drugs to entire populations in order to control, prevent or eliminate common or widespread disease, and
  2. Morbidity management, which refers to the treatment or management of an existing disease or illness.


IMA began working in Haiti in 1998, establishing a clinic for patients suffering from lymphatic filariasis, a common neglected tropical disease (NTD). Since then, IMA has played a significant role in the ongoing effort to eliminate LF from the population through MDA—a goal that is increasingly within reach.

ENVISION Haiti Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD) Control Program

Funding: $10M • USAID through RTI International • 2011 – 2016
Partners: RTI International, Haiti Ministry of Health and Population (MSPP), and Haiti Ministry of Education (MENFP)

IMA and partners conduct mass drug administration (MDA) to prevent and control the spread of lymphatic filariasis (LF) and soil transmitted helminthes (STH). IMA leads MDA in 9 of the 10 Departments through community distribution posts and schools with the help of approximately 19,000 community volunteers IMA has trained to educate the population and distribute the medication.

Key Achievements

  • MDA: Treat over 5.1 million Haitians annually, an average of 94% of the eligible population.
  • Consecutive treatment: Achieved 6 rounds of consecutive MDA in 91 USAID supported communes to date.
  • Impact evaluation: Currently implementing Transmission Assessment Surveys to evaluate the impact of MDA and whether MDA can be stopped in some areas.
  • TOMS partnership: Through a partnership with TOMS, provided hundreds of thousands of pairs of new shoes to children in need since 2010.


Celebrating Historic Progress in the Global Fight Against NTDs

Neglected tropical diseases affect more than 1 billion people—one-sixth of the world’s population—including an estimated 800 million children. This year, USAID will have supported countries to deliver one billion NTD treatments in the global effort to reduce the burden of NTDs—a remarkable achievement reached in only eight years. USAID support for NTD control began in 2008 under the NTD Control Program (2006-2012) and continues under the ENVISION project (2011-2016). Both projects have been led by RTI International.

IMA was thrilled to facilitate a USAID delegation to Haiti on May 8, 2014 to celebrate the historic 1 billionth dose and highlight the success of Haiti’s NTD program.

IMA is proud to be a part of the effort that will one day eliminate these devastating diseases.
"The success of Haiti has been supported by IMA World Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and RTI International. Let me also say that reaching out to poor and marginalized communities is not an easy task. We need such partners. We need the community itself and we need the ministries of health and education to work in tandem to ensure we can deliver the treatments to the people who need it," said Dr. Pablos-Mendez, Assistant Administrator for Global Health at USAID.


IMA’s NTD work in Tanzania remains as important to us as in the beginning. Today, we continue to address the NTD burden through mass drug administration as well as provide much-needed (and often overlooked) health services to those suffering from complications of NTD infection.

ENVISION Tanzania Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD) Control Program

Funding: $17.5 million • USAID • 2011-2016
Partners: RTI International and Tanzania Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MOHSW)

IMA and partners work to eliminate and control five NTDs endemic in Tanzania, including onchocerciasis (River Blindness), lymphatic filariasis (LF), schistosomiasis, soil-transmitted helminthes (STH), and trachoma. IMA supports mass drug administration (MDA) in nine regions and 54 districts.

Key Achievements

  • MDA: Provide 14 million treatments annually to prevent and control transmission of NTDs.
  • Community volunteers: Trained more than 45,000 community drug distributors, frontline health workers and teachers who provide treatment to communities.

Lymphatic Filariasis (LF) Morbidity Management Project

Funding: $100,000 Presbyterian Churches (USA), 2013-present • $150,000 IZUMI Foundation, 2014-2016
IMA supports patients suffering from scrotal hydrocele—a manifestation of LF infection over many years—through a simple surgery called hydrocelectomy, training surgeons, and community awareness. Hydrocele is a debilitating condition causing physical disability as well as social stigma. The project is embedded in the Tanzania health system, using local hospital-based personnel whose capacity is built by surgeons from the national referral hospital.

Key Achievements

  • Surgery: Provided life-changing surgeries and follow-up care to nearly 1,000 male patients.
  • Training: Trained and mentored 47 local doctors, nurses, and anesthesia assistants in the Lindi Region.