A research agenda for helminth diseases of humans: social ecology, environmental determinants, and health systems.
In this paper, the Disease Reference Group on Helminth Infections (DRG4), established in 2009 by the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR), with the mandate to review helminthiases research and identify research priorities and gaps, focuses on the environmental, social, behavioural, and political determinants of human helminth infections and outlines a research and development agenda for the socioeconomic and health systems research required for the development of sustainable control programmes. Using Stockols' social-ecological approach, we describe the role of various social (poverty, policy, stigma, culture, and migration) and environmental determinants (the home environment, water resources development, and climate change) in the perpetuation of helminthic diseases, as well as their impact as contextual factors on health promotion interventions through both the regular and community-based health systems. We examine these interactions in regard to community participation, intersectoral collaboration, gender, and possibilities for upscaling helminthic disease control and elimination programmes within the context of integrated and interdisciplinary approaches. The research agenda summarises major gaps that need to be addressed.