Since its inception, the core of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID’s) Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD) Program has been a focus on expanding large-scale access to preventive chemotherapy by scaling up mass drug administration (MDA) for the NTDs targeted by the Program.
MDA is a strategy used to administer NTD medicines to the entire at-risk population of an area, most commonly a district. This strategy takes different forms in different countries, but usually consists of a campaign-style approach to deliver medications to all eligible people in at-risk communities, usually once or twice per year depending on the specific, targeted NTDs.
NTD control and elimination efforts have been deemed a “global health best buy” because they are relatively inexpensive and highly effective. MDA is a cost-effective approach that can reduce the occurrence, extent, and severity of the targeted diseases and can result in sustained reduction in disease transmission, so populations may no longer require treatment. For trachoma, MDA is a component of the comprehensive SAFE strategy.
To achieve expansion of MDA to populations in need, USAID’s country-level support has focused on addressing key programmatic questions and employing appropriate responses: Mapping, Monitoring Progress, and Evaluation.