EnDPoINT: protocol for an implementation research study to integrate a holistic package of physical health, mental health and psychosocial care for podoconiosis, lymphatic filariasis and leprosy into routine health services in Ethiopia.
INTRODUCTION: Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) causing lower limb lymphoedema such as podoconiosis, lymphatic filariasis (LF) and leprosy are common in Ethiopia. Routine health services for morbidity management and disability prevention (MMDP) of lymphoedema caused by these conditions are still lacking, even though it imposes a huge burden on affected individuals and their communities in terms of physical and mental health, and psychosocial and economic outcomes. This calls for an integrated, holistic approach to MMDP across these three diseases.
METHODS AND ANALYSIS: The 'Excellence in Disability Prevention Integrated across NTDs' (EnDPoINT) implementation research study aims to assess the integration and scale-up of a holistic package of care-including physical health, mental health and psychosocial care-into routine health services for people with lymphoedema caused by podoconiosis, LF and leprosy in selected districts in Awi zone in the North-West of Ethiopia. The study is being carried out over three phases using a wide range of mixed methodologies. Phase 1 involves the development of a comprehensive holistic care package and strategies for its integration into the routine health services across the three diseases, and to examine the factors that influence integration and the roles of key health system actors. Phase 2 involves a pilot study conducted in one subdistrict in Awi zone, to establish the care package's adoption, feasibility, acceptability, fidelity, potential effectiveness, its readiness for scale-up, costs of the interventions and the suitability of the training and training materials. Phase 3 involves scale-up of the care package in three whole districts, as well as its evaluation in regard to coverage, implementation, clinical (physical health, mental health and psychosocial) and economic outcomes.
ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: Ethics approval for the study has been obtained in the UK and Ethiopia. The results will be disseminated through publications in scientific journals, conference presentations, policy briefs and workshops.