COUNTDOWN LIBERIA take on new challenge, working with participants to develop a health systems intervention for Female Genital Schistosomiasis (FGS)
COUNTDOWN (Calling Time on Neglected Tropical Diseases) research in Liberia in collaboration with the national NTD programme and health systems stakeholders identified FGS s potentially one of the NTD priority problems in Liberia.
Therefore, one of the COUNTDOWN extension research projects in Liberia aims at Integrating the Detection and Management of FGS into the Health System in highly endemic areas for schistosomiasis.
The study will take place in two districts, spread across Bong and Nimba counties which were selected for their high Schistosomiasis prevalence. A diagnostic and treatment guide including counselling and referral pathways for FGS will be developed in collaboration with a team of health systems stakeholders across all levels of the health system. Frontline health workers from all 23 health facilities in the two study districts will be trained on how to use the guide to diagnose and manage FGS.
These activities will involve stakeholders working on gender specific issues in Liberia, particularly those providing services for gender-based violence to ensure appropriate referral pathways. Women diagnosed with FGS will benefit from treatment with praziquantel in all health facilities in the study areas. This could potentially be scaledup to other counties in Liberia.
This participatory research study uses a quality improvement (QI) process known as the Plan-Do-Study-Act cycle. Participants will draw on literature to collaboratively develop a diagnostic algorithm, treatment
package and referral system for FGS. Frontline health workers will then be trained on the algorithm and its
use, and will implement in their various health facilities, supported by a team of researchers and health system stakeholders. Lessons learned will influence amendments to the algorithm and the changes fed back into the system. At the end, health workers and stakeholders will be interviewed on their experiences and FGS cases detected will be characterised. These outcomes will feed into final amendments to the algorithm and subsequently recommended as a strategy for uptake into the health system
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