Persons 'never treated' in mass drug administration for lymphatic filariasis: identifying programmatic and research needs from a series of research review meetings 2020-2021.
Brady MA., Toubali E., Baker M., Long E., Worrell C., Ramaiah K., Graves P., Hollingsworth TD., Kelly-Hope L., Stukel D., Tripathi B., Means AR., Matendechero SH., Krentel A.
As neglected tropical disease programs rely on participation in rounds of mass drug administration (MDA), there is concern that individuals who have never been treated could contribute to ongoing transmission, posing a barrier to elimination. Previous research has suggested that the size and characteristics of the never-treated population may be important but have not been sufficiently explored. To address this critical knowledge gap, four meetings were held from December 2020 to May 2021 to compile expert knowledge on never treatment in lymphatic filariasis (LF) MDA programs. The meetings explored four questions: the number and proportion of people never treated, their sociodemographic characteristics, their infection status and the reasons why they were not treated. Meeting discussions noted key issues requiring further exploration, including how to standardize measurement of the never treated, adapt and use existing tools to capture never-treated data and ensure representation of never-treated people in data collection. Recognizing that patterns of never treatment are situation specific, participants noted measurement should be quick, inexpensive and focused on local solutions. Furthermore, programs should use existing data to generate mathematical models to understand what levels of never treatment may compromise LF elimination goals or trigger programmatic action.