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Trop Med Health. 2016 Jul 13;44:20. doi: 10.1186/s41182-016-0023-8. eCollection 2016.

The potential of positive deviance approach for the sustainable control of neglected tropical diseases.

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Department of Community and Global Health, Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan.
Department of Tropical Medicine and Malaria, Research Institute, National Center for Global Health and Medicine, Tokyo, Japan.


Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) have gained much attention in recent years due to the support from various agencies. However, the main approach to combat NTDs has been to cure rather than to prevent. As many NTD infections are closely linked with human behaviors such as hygienic practices and tradition, behavior change is also very crucial to prevent relapse or reinfection. Therefore, we would like to suggest a potential new approach-the positive deviance approach-to tackle NTDs by focusing on the preventive phase. What makes this approach unique is that the solution comes from the affected population themselves and not from the expert outsiders. Preventive chemotherapy that relies on outside aid has serious sustainability issues as reinfection is also high after the aid program has ended. Learning from the success story in Vietnam on preventing childhood malnutrition, the positive deviance approach could end the spread of NTDs once and for all by making full use of the available local solutions.


Neglected tropical disease; Positive deviance

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