Global Efforts

Local innovation for global impact

While much of IMA World Health’s work is focused in specific countries and communities, IMA also participates in a variety of projects with potential for wider impact. The key that opens the door to this wider impact is innovation: developing and testing approaches that can be scaled up or replicated to address public health challenges that are regional or even global in scope.

For example, after years of cooperative effort, Haiti is nearing the goal of eliminating lymphatic filariasis as a public health problem. So when the Task Force for Global Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wanted to pilot a new filariasis test strip mobile reader, they knew Haiti was the ideal location—and IMA the trusted partner to oversee the task.

Colorado-based Mobile Assay developed the mobile reader, known as mReader, which pairs with a software application to provide a more objective, quantitative reading and addresses long-standing issues with subjective test interpretation. IMA agreed to collect samples needed to calibrate the mReader and to pilot its use during a planned pre-transmission assessment survey in Borgne commune in Haiti’s North Department. The goal was to determine whether the mReader should become an important tool in the effort to achieve an even bigger goal: to eliminate LF worldwide by 2020. As a result, IMA was able to provide valuable, objective feedback that Mobile Assay can use to improve the mReader design and application.

Through efforts like these, with our feet firmly on the ground but our sights broad, IMA thinks globally, leveraging our experience, our partnerships and our reach to create new models, implement innovative solutions and test new tools to help achieve goals around the world.


(Funding varies by program year)

IMA has been an implementing partner in the ENVISION project since 2011. RTI International leads the eight-year effort aimed at providing assistance to national neglected tropical disease programs. The effort targets five neglected tropical diseases: lymphatic filariasis, trachoma, onchocerciasis, schistosomiasis and three soil transmitted helminths (roundworm, hookworm and whipworm).

IMA World Health implements ENVISION programming in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti and Tanzania. The coordinated effort has made major gains in all three countries, where IMA has extensive operational presence. For example, this year in DRC nearly 500,000 people have been treated for onchocerciasis, lymphatic filariasis, schistosomiasis, and soil transmitted helminths. More than 20 million Tanzanians have been treated for at least one of the five focus diseases to date. In Haiti, the elimination of LF as a public health threat is within sight, following years of coordinated mass drug administrations and capacity building for public health workers who distribute treatments.

Gifts in kind program

(Funding varies by program year)

Since 1960, IMA has received donations of essential medicines, medical supplies or health aids from manufacturers and hospitals to support international health care programs. Products from IMA’s Gifts in Kind program have been sent to more than 72 countries around the world.

This year, IMA shipped nearly $1.5 million in donated items to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti and Tanzania.

With support from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, IMA works with CASA in India to help those living with LF with hygiene education, supplies and wound care.
Photo by Craig Thompson

With support from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, IMA works with CASA in India to help those living with LF with hygiene education, supplies and wound care.
Photo by Craig Thompson

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

(Funding varies by program year)

IMA maintains a close partnership with CDC through a global cooperative agreement. This year, IMA and CDC worked together in Haiti and India.
In Haiti, CDC provides technical support and capacity strengthening in the areas of new diagnostics (e.g. the introduction of filariasis test strips for transmission assessment surveys, known as TAS) and managing and analyzing TAS data using an online data platform. IMA and CDC have also worked with the Haiti Neglected Tropical Disease Control Program and other implementing partners to develop the 2016-2020 national strategic plan for morbidity management and disability prevention, or MMDP. The plan was submitted to Haiti’s National LF/Malaria Coordinator and presented at the bi-annual NTD partners meeting in January 2016. The plan is an important component of Haiti’s national LF program and meeting the World Health Organization’s LF elimination dossier requirements; it will also be a valuable advocacy tool for the national program.

IMA also worked with the CDC and HNTDCP to revise its mass drug administration tools and registers for its 2016 MDA in order to integrate indicators on lymphedema and hydrocele, including the age and sex of MDA participants reporting either condition. This enabled the HNTDCP to assess MMDP burden in the 18 communes where IMA carried out MDA from March-May 2016, providing the first disaggregated data on the number of LF patients in these communes to inform program planning and services for patients with LF.

India is home to 17.5 percent of the world’s population, and a large portion of the population is at risk of LF. For the past three years, through our partnership with the CDC, IMA provided a subgrant to Church’s Auxiliary for Social Action to expand ongoing work in lymphatic filariasis and lymphedema management in the Ganjam district of Odisha State. This year the project trained local task force members, family members and health activists in the principles and practice of lymphedema self-care through home-based foot care management. It also assisted in the planning and implementation of government-supported MDA. The program has received full endorsement and accolades from the Ministry of Health and the National Neglected Tropical Diseases Program, which is positioning to carry out the CASA model throughout the country.

AIDSFree Project

(Funding varies by program year)

Through AIDSFree, led by JSI, IMA helps build the capacity of faith-based networks to address HIV effectively in countries with significant HIV and AIDS burdens. In the last fiscal year, IMA’s efforts contributed to the revision of the Framework and Toolkit for South-to-South Technical Assistance in the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief Gender Strategy. This framework and toolkit help PEPFAR country teams plan and provide technical assistance through a cost-effective approach that builds local capacity. IMA helped to identify well-established, faith-based organizations that could provide technical assistance to PEPFAR and advance the program’s gender-strategic areas.

IMA also conducted a case study to examine condom services in two Ugandan HIV prevention and treatment programs—one in a faith based facility and another a public facility. The case study added to the limited evidence on condom counseling in the context of biomedical interventions through examining approaches for providing condom services and the quality of services.

The AIDSFree effort led IMA staff to develop a tool to assess the engagement of community service organizations in prevention of mother-to-child transmission policy and planning. The tool has since been applied by MANET+, a civil society organization in Malawi. A resulting case study considers Malawi’s enabling environment for CSO engagement in PMTCT policy; advocacy approaches that MANET+ uses to engage with decision makers; strategies for strengthening its policy and advocacy activities; and challenges to creating change.

Our partner:

TOMS: Good shoes for good health

Shoes are one of the first levels of defense when it comes to good health—and they are a great complement to the ENVISION program IMA implements in Haiti. In 2010, IMA and TOMS partnered to add shoe distribution to its work to prevent and treat hookworm and other neglected tropical diseases. Using the same network of volunteers who distribute drugs at MDAs, IMA has efficiently worked with TOMS to provide new shoes to school children to help keep them healthy and able to attend school. In addition to preventing cuts and injuries that can become infected, shoes help prevent the spread of hookworm and other soil-transmitted diseases that can enter through the feet. Shoes are also required for school enrollment.

TOMS is a for-profit company with a trademark One for One® giving model. For every product sold, TOMS helps a person in need. At the start of our partnership, TOMS sold only shoes. Today, it also sells sunglasses, bags and apparel. TOMS currently helps give shoes, restore sight, provide safe water and support safe birth for people in need and helps stop bullying through prevention and response services. To date, IMA and TOMS have distributed hundreds of thousands of pairs of new shoes to children in Haiti. Going forward, IMA hopes to continue this productive partnership and is seeking ways to reach more vulnerable and out-of-school children.

Dalovena is a 12-year-old girl from Saint Marc in Haiti. She received two pairs of TOMS
shoes in December 2015. ‘I like playing sports while wearing my TOMS shoes,’ she said.

Photo courtesy of TOMS