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NTD Morbidity & Disability (NMD) Toolkit

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Photography: Marcelo Londono

Leprosy is just one in the category of over 17 neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), which comprises an extremely diverse group of chronic infections that mainly affect the poorest population groups. Estimates say that more than a billion people around the world suffer from one or more NTDs, which can result in bodily complications, long-​term disabilities and social exclusion. Information on these important aspects of NTDs is not easily available. The NTD Morbidity & Disability (NMD) Toolkit-​study aimed at putting together and testing a collection of instruments such as questionnaires, to measure and monitor different aspects of NTD-​related complications and disabilities. Such as restrictions in functioning and social involvement, and important aspects of personal and environmental factors such as quality of life and stigma. We tested 6 questionnaires in Brazil that could measure these factors amongst people with 4 different NTDs: leprosy, Chagas disease, and leishmaniasis and schistosomiasis. 5 out of the 6 instruments tested, proved easy to apply and very relevant.

We concluded that these remaining 5 instruments were suited to inclusion in the toolkit. It is important that we test the kit in several countries and with more NTDs to determine whether it is suited for application with a variety of NTDs and in various languages and cultures. The NMD Toolkit will be useful to NLR and many of our partners to provide data on complications and disabilities due to leprosy and other NTDs that can be used for advocacy, fundraising, mapping of needs and strategic resource allocation.

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