Training to Map NTDs Leads to Stronger Strategic Planning in Nigeria

Geographic information system training for staff from both the state and national levels in Nigeria

In September 2017, the Federal Ministry of Health Nigeria, with support from AIM and its partners, The Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), conducted a joint geographic information system (GIS) training for approximately 27 staff from both the state and national levels in Nigeria.

Participants included staff from the National Tuberculosis, Leprosy and Buruli ulcer (NTBL) and Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) programs and in-country partners. The training provided basic skills to map collected data to display the distribution and prevalence of NTDs.

The participants used data collected from a recent mapping exercise to develop maps for Buruli ulcer, trachoma, lymphatic filariasis, and leprosy. This joint training was a continuation of the integration of case management NTDs (CM-NTDs) that began a few months ago, when selected members from both programs worked together to collect data from all states in Nigeria.

After the GIS training, AIM provided support to the Ministry of Health as members from both the NTBL and NTDs program and their partners gathered to develop a strategic plan for the case management of NTDs. The meeting was crucial, as representatives of both programs decided how NTD management will be integrated and who will be responsible. For the first time, these teams were equipped with the maps of the cases and distribution of these diseases to guide the planning and prioritise and target interventions.

The meeting also resulted in the creation of a subcommittee for CM-NTDs. Nigeria is the first country to form an official subcommittee for strategic execution of the integrated case management of NTDs under the National NTD Steering Committee. The subcommittee will play a critical advocacy and coordination role, helping to ensure the new strategic plan is carried out.