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Collaboration is a Cost-Effective Way to Eliminate Barriers to Care

Collecting blood for yaws testing in Liberia.

This past summer, the National Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) Program Manager in Liberia received an alert from Margibi county about 14 suspected cases of yaws and Buruli ulcer. However, due to the lack of rapid diagnostic tests, the cases could not be confirmed.

So AIM consulted with the Ministry of Health in Liberia and the WHO Global Buruli Ulcer and Yaws Program. Together they identified two consultants from the West Africa region with experience in Buruli ulcer and yaws to conduct a one-week practical training to build capacity within Liberia to confirm and treat these cases. Collaborating with local consultants is not only cost-effective, but also allows for knowledge and information sharing among regional programs.

The consultants conducted field visits with 11 people from six counties, including staff from Margibi county. The field visits included conducting rapid diagnostic tests for the initial suspected cases, ensuring the staff gained essential skills to deal with suspected NTD outbreaks in the future. The consultants also provided guidance on distribution of medication and diagnostic kits to ensure that everyone has the necessary tools for identifying and managing suspected Buruli ulcer and yaws cases.

The consultants were impressed with the dedication of the individuals in the training, remarking that “staff at all levels demonstrated strong commitment.”

AIM continues to support the National NTDs Program in Liberia both technically and financially to eliminate barriers to NTD care and improve access to case management services for all.