Participatory development of a target policy profile to support soil-transmitted helminth elimination

Arianna Rubin Means, Kellie List, Amy Roll, Marie Claire Gwayi-Chore, Shawn Dolley, Holger J. Schünemann, Thea C. Norman, Judd L. Walson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Soil-transmitted helminths (STH) are parasitic worms that infect nearly a quarter of the world's population, particularly those living in communities without access to adequate water, sanitation, and housing. Emerging evidence suggests that it may be possible to interrupt transmission of STH by deworming individuals of all ages via community-wide MDA (cMDA), as opposed to only treating children and other focal populations. Transitioning from a policy of STH control to STH elimination in targeted areas would require a fundamental shift in STH policy and programming. This policy change would require updated guidance to support countries as they adapt their current approaches for STH surveillance, supply chain management, community mobilization, and core programmatic activities in pursuit of STH elimination. There is an opportunity to engage with key stakeholders, such as program implementers and implementation partners, to understand what evidence they need to confidently adopt a new policy guideline and to deliver guideline adherent management at scale. Methods: We aimed to engage with STH stakeholders to develop a Target Policy Profile (TPoP), a single document that describes optimal characteristics and evidence requirements that STH stakeholders prioritized in future potential STH transmission interruption efforts. Steps in TPoP development included a scoping review and key informant interviews (KIIs), which were used to design a two-stage Delphi technique to identify and verify TPoP components. Results: The scoping review resulted in 25 articles, and 8 experts participated in KII's. Twenty respondents completed the first Delphi survey and 10 respondents completed the second. This systematic effort resulted in a net of 3 key information domains (background/context, clinical considerations, and implementation considerations) encompassing 24 evidence categories (examples include evidence regarding safety and adverse events, implementation feasibility, or evidence dissemination). For each evidence category, STH stakeholders reviewed, endorsed, or revised a range of options for how the evidence could be presented. Discussion: This information can be used by guideline committees or global policy makers prior to convening guideline advisory groups. The TPoP tool may also speed the process of stakeholder consensus building around guidelines, accelerating progress towards implementing evidence-based policy at scale.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1310694
JournalFrontiers in Health Services
StatePublished - 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Delphi
  • guidelines
  • neglected tropical diseases
  • participatory methods
  • policy implementation
  • soil-transmitted helminths

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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