The University of Washington’s Strategic Analysis and Research Training Program (START) team was engaged by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) to conduct a literature review to examine how the neglected tropical disease (NTD) platform (primarily through mass drug administration) could be utilized to inform the rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations in Africa. The workflow primarily consisted of a three-pronged literature review, examining published literature in PubMed, grey literature obtained from BMGF, and a reverse search of citations in the identified grey literature. The results from this review were prepared in a slide deck presentation given to the BMGF NTDs team, Malaria team, and members of the Task Force for Global Health. Additionally, an excel database of compiled results, including key findings, was included as a secondary deliverable.
The START team's primary recommendations to BMGF included avoiding complications in distribution, standardizing across campaign staff, using digital tools for campaign microplanning, integrating vaccination delivery with trusted workers and proven programs, and partnering with NGOs and local advocacy groups who have expertise in reaching elderly populations with global health interventions.