DiSARM algorithms used to identify NTD hotspots
April, 2019

In April 2019, the DiSARM team was awarded a grant from the Taskforce for Global Health to develop a tool to support the identification of disease hotspots, to allow programs to make more informed decisions about when, and at what scale, to conduct mass drug administration (MDA).

The control and elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) is predominantly driven by the use of mass drug administration (MDA). MDA is typically targeted at districts where prevalence of infection among a sample of individuals across the district is above a specific threshold. For example, for lymphatic filariasis, large scale surveys are done to estimate the prevalence of infection per district. In districts where more than 2% of the population is infected, the whole district receives MDA.

However, countries that are successfully driving down transmission are increasingly finding that in districts that no longer qualify for MDA, small pockets or hotspots, remain. Evidence suggests that if these hotspots are not dealt with, they can lead to resurgence of disease.

Using climatic and environmental variables, the DiSARM tool predicts where hotspots are from survey data collected by the program. Furthermore, it provides recommendations on where to look next for the disease, optimizing the the way these programs operate.

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