17 Apr 2020

A message from GAELF Chair during the time of COVID-19

We hope all of you in the LF programmes across the global programme are keeping safe in this worrying new world of the COVID-19 virus pandemic.

As we all think of ways of addressing and assisting in the global response to this challenge, the question of how those of us in the NTD world — those of us who support programme supporters, and importantly those of us who manage the field activities — can use the NTD programmes to assist. The very extensive experience and connections out to the village level that LF and other PC programmes have gained through our drug distribution and healthcare activities might be of great assistance to governments as they respond to COVID-19.

It is important that any way the LF/NTD programmes can help our countries with their responses to COVID-19 are identified quickly; these may be different in different countries depending on the plans and needs of individual country governments. To this end we at GAELF would like to assist LF/NTD programme managers in understanding how their NTD programme teams, laboratories and communication systems could be used to assist national responses to COVID-19.  To do this we hope to compile a comprehensive list of the different ways that country NTD programmes are using, or plan to use, when communicating with their donors in assisting their ministries and local governments. This list will then be shared across the NTD world to hopefully help local decisions in each country; such a list will be useful in discussions between LF programmes, governments and donors. Examples of potential ways LF/NTD programmes might contribute is given below*. 

Secondly, we would also like to highlight on the GAELF website each country’s activities in this response — so please send us your country stories (and photos) so we can tell the world how your own LF/NTD programme is responding to this huge challenge.

Please send your thoughts on how we can assist national programmes, and your own stories and images,  on this important issue  to me at cmacakenzie [at] taskforce [dot] org and/or to GAELF at gaelf [at] lstmed [dot] ac [dot] uk .

We very much look forward to hearing from you, and please stay safe!

Charles Mackenzie, Chair, GAELF Steering Group



Some examples of ways that we, in the NTD world, may be able to help national responses to COVID-19 could include the following:

  • Communication of the appropriate messages to residents in rural    areas through the MDA distribution system
  • Providing laboratory supplies and reagents to laboratories carrying out diagnoses
  • Providing staff for various COVID-19 activities defined by the Ministry of Health
  • Use of the expertise your NTD laboratory team has to test for COVID-19 at the village level