Edited by: Dr Johannes Sommerfeld, Prof. Xiao-Nong Zhou
Effective and simple interventions and tools exist that can be used to either prevent, treat or rehabilitate patients suffering from infectious diseases of poverty (IDoP). The delivery of these interventions and tools to the affected populations, however, has proven difficult due to weak public health systems in many disease-endemic countries. Disease control and public health programmes are increasingly advocating community-based delivery strategies and interventions. These depend, to a large degree, on trained community volunteers, e.g., community health workers whose performance in various areas of health care such as maternal and child health has been the subject of rigorous recent systematic reviews. Community-based delivery platforms are increasingly being proposed not only to ensure sustainability and combat co-infections, but also to build capacity for integration of NTDs with existing malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS programs for which more sophisticated healthcare delivery systems already exist. This thematic series of eight papers commissioned by the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR), with funding support from the European Commission, provides an overview on infectious diseases of poverty and integrated community-based interventions, describes the analytical framework and the methodology used to guide the systematic reviews, reports findings for the effectiveness of community-based interventions for the prevention and control of helminthic NTDs, non-helminthic NTDs, malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis and proposes a way forward. While previous reviews focus on process and effectiveness of integrated community-based interventions under real life field conditions, this series of papers evaluates the efficacy of such interventions with respect to disease or prevention outcomes.