NIDIAG stands for “Syndromic approach to Neglected Infectious Diseases (NID) at primary health care level: an international collaboration on integrated diagnostic-treatment platforms”. NIDIAG was a European research network coordinated by Prof. Marleen Boelaert of the Institute of Tropical Medicine (ITM), Antwerp, Belgium. The consortium brought together 13 complementary partners from Europe, Asia and Africa. This collaborative project was supported from November 2010 till April 2016 by the European Commission under the Health Priority of the 7th Framework Programme.
Neglected Infectious Diseases (NID) such as trypanosomiasis, leishmaniasis, schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminthiasis receive less than 5% of the global investment for tropical diseases research. Clinical praxis in disease-endemic countries is rarely evidence based and does not make use of the latest innovations in diagnostic technology. NID–related research on diagnostics is particularly underfunded, and diagnostic tools are lacking for a number of NID.
The aim of the NIDIAG consortium was to improve the quality of NID care at primary health care level in resource-poor settings by bridging the gap between existing technological innovations in diagnostics and clinical care. The core idea was to design evidence-based diagnostic guidance with a patient-centred approach, involving stakeholders from disease-endemic countries, adapted to specific epidemiological contexts in Africa and Asia, and making the best possible use of existing assays and treatments.
The major objectives of the NIDIAG project were:
- to develop and validate an integrated syndromic approach based on diagnosis treatment algorithms for three NID-related clinical syndromes frequently encountered in primary care settings, namely the persistent fever syndrome, the neurological syndrome, and the digestive syndrome;
- to develop novel diagnostic platforms/assays tailored to specific epidemiological contexts at primary care level in NID-endemic settings;
- to document the cost-saving and increased efficacy of this integrated syndromic approach for the clinical management of NID, and produce recommendations to policy makers for its broad implementation.