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Amhara region, Ethiopia. Credit: Saba Lambert, 2014

SHARP

Working in partnership across five institutions, we conduct multi-disciplinary research in Ghana and Ethiopia to improve experiences of severe and stigmatising neglected tropical diseases of the skin.

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About

Funded by the UK’s United Kingdom National Institute for Health Research, we are an experienced group of researchers with wide-ranging skills: epidemiology, clinical medicine, social sciences and anthropology, clinical trials, health economics, public health, laboratory sciences and diagnostics. Together, we will take a broad approach to the common problem of skin disease to help deliver healthy skin and healthy lives.

Research

Neglected tropical diseases of the skin - such as Buruli ulcer, cutaneous leishmaniasis, leprosy, and yaws - are associated with physical disability, psychological distress, financial hardship, and social isolation. Conducted with affected individuals, communities, and other stakeholders, our research programme comprises three projects in Ethiopia and Ghana.

About
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Working in Partnership in Ghana and Ethiopia

The Skin Health Africa Research Programme (SHARP) is a collaboration between the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, the University of Ghana, the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (Ghana), the Addis Ababa University, and the Armauer Hansen Research Institute (Ethiopia). We are an experienced group of researchers with wide-ranging skills: epidemiology, clinical medicine, social sciences and anthropology, clinical trials, health economics, public health, laboratory sciences and diagnostics. Together, we take a broad approach to the common problem of skin disease to help deliver healthy skin and healthy lives.

Funding

SHARP is funded by the United Kingdom National Institute for Health Research via the Research and Innovation for Global Health Transformation (RIGHT) scheme (2019-2023).

SHARP research team members
Some of the research team members at the project kick-off meeting, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, December 2019
SHARP research team members
Some of the research team members at the project kick-off meeting, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, December 2019

 

Who we are
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We are an experienced group of researchers with wide-ranging skills: epidemiology, clinical medicine, social sciences and anthropology, clinical trials, health economics, public health, laboratory sciences and diagnostics.

A full list of our team members will be added soon. For now, we include the lead investigator at each of our five partner institutions:

London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, United Kingdom

Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research in Tropical Medicine, Ghana   

Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, University of Ghana

Armauer Hansen Research Institute, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia

Research
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Aim

The programme aims to identify strategies for improving experiences of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) of the skin which are severe and stigmatising.

Rationale

Skin disease is a leading cause of global chronic disease burden and morbidity. Skin NTDs such as Buruli ulcer, cutaneous leishmaniasis, leprosy and yaws are associated with physical disability, psychological distress, financial hardship and social isolation. In communities affected by skin NTDs there is also an enormous burden of other skin diseases caused by other infections which needs to be addressed. These more common diseases of the skin are also associated with stigma and reduced quality of life and may confound the diagnosis of skin NTDs.

The World Health Organization has identified opportunities for combining efforts to identify and manage different skin NTDs and has developed training guides for health workers. One rationale for a combined or “integrated” approach is that the implementation of two or more skin NTD-related activities in communities should be a more efficient use of scarce resources. An integrated approach to skin NTDs which tackles more common skin diseases may be more acceptable and have greater impact. The best strategies to diagnose and treat multiple NTDs affecting the skin in a single programme need to be identified.  

Our activities

Conducted with affected individuals, communities, and other stakeholders, our research programme comprises three projects:

  • A randomised-controlled trial to compare the effects of a novel wound dressing on the healing of Buruli ulcer in Ghana
  • A cohort study of individuals diagnosed with cutaneous leishmaniasis in Ethiopia
  • Development and testing of active case finding systems for skin NTDs in Ghana and Ethiopia

Three themes cut across all our work:

  • Understanding and addressing stigma
  • Capacity building
  • Economic evaluation
Patients with early Buruli ulcer
Patients with early Buruli ulcer can present manifestations including nodules (left) and small ulcers (right). Location: Agogo Hospital, Ghana. Credit: Michael Marks

If untreated, early Buruli ulcers can progress to large ulcers which may involve the whole limb. With antibiotic treatment and good wound care patients can make an excellent recovery.

Dermatology Ward at Borumeda Hospital
Dermatology ward, Borumeda Hospital, Amhara Region, Northeastern Ethiopia. Credit: Saba Lambert

 

Resources
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Publications
Resources
Publications
Publications from the SHARP research programme will be coming soon. Below are some key recent publications about neglected tropical diseases of the skin to which members of our research team have contributed:
2020
Single-Dose Rifampicin and BCG to Prevent Leprosy.
Lockwood, Diana N., Barbara De Barros, and Stephen L. Walker
2020
International Journal of Infectious Diseases
Rifampicin and Clarithromycin (Extended Release) versus Rifampicin and Streptomycin for Limited Buruli Ulcer Lesions: A Randomised, Open-Label, Non-Inferiority Phase 3 Trial.
Richard O. Phillips, Jérôme Robert, Kabiru Mohamed Abass, William Thompson, Fred Stephen Sarfo, Tuah Wilson, Godfred Sarpong, Thierry Gateau, Annick Chauty, Raymond Omollo, Michael Ochieng Otieno, Thaddaeus W Egondi, Edwin O Ampadu, Didier Agossadou, Estelle Marion, Line Ganlonon, Mark Wansbrough-Jones, Jacques Grosset, John M Macdonald, Terry Treadwell, Paul Saunderson, Albert Paintsil, Linda Lehman, Michael Frimpong, Nanaa Francisca Sarpong, Raoul Saizonou, Alexandre Tiendrebeogo, Sally-Ann Ohene, Ymkje Stienstra, Kingsley B Asiedu, Tjip S van der Werf, on behalf of the study team*
2020
The Lancet
‘Buruli Ulcer and Leprosy, They Are Intertwined’: Patient Experiences of Integrated Case Management of Skin Neglected Tropical Diseases in Liberia.
Prochazka, Mateo, Joseph Timothy, Rachel Pullan, Karsor Kollie, Emerson Rogers, Abednego Wright, and Jennifer Palmer
2020
PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
2019
Challenges Associated with the Treatment of Buruli Ulcer.
Aboagye, Sammy Yaw, Grace Kpeli, Joseph Tuffour, and Dorothy Yeboah-Manu
2019
Journal of Leukocyte Biology
The Public Health Control of Scabies: Priorities for Research and Action.
Daniel Engelman, Paul T. Cantey, Michael Marks, Anthony W. Solomon, Aileen Y. Chang, Olivier Chosidow, Wendemagegn Enbiale, et al.
2019
The Lancet
Rapid Detection of Mycobacterium Ulcerans with Isothermal Recombinase Polymerase Amplification Assay.
Michael Frimpong, Hubert Senanu Ahor, Ahmed Abd El Wahed, Bernadette Agbavor, Francisca Naana Sarpong, Kenneth Laing, Mark Wansbrough-Jones, and Richard Odame Phillips
2019
PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Three Drugs Are Unnecessary for Treating Paucibacillary Leprosy—A Critique of the WHO Guidelines.
Diana N.J. Lockwood, Saba Lambert, Aparna Srikantam, Joydeepa Darlong, V. V. Pai, C. Ruth Butlin, Barbara de Barros, Edessa Negera, and Stephen L. Walker
2019
PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Mapping the Global Distribution of Buruli Ulcer: A Systematic Review with Evidence Consensus.
Hope Simpson, Kebede Deribe, Earnest Njih Tabah, Adebayo Peters, Issaka Maman, Michael Frimpong, Edwin Ampadu, Richard Phillips, Paul Saunderson, Rachel L. Pullan, Jorge Cano
2019
The Lancet Global Health
The prevalence of scabies, pyoderma and other communicable dermatoses in the Bijagos Archipelago, Guinea-Bissau
Michael Marks, Thomas Sammut, Marito Gomes Cabral, Eunice Teixeira da Silva, Adriana Goncalves, Amabelia Rodrigues, Cristóvão Manjuba, Jose Nakutum, Janete Ca, Umberto D’Alessandro, Jane Achan, James Logan, Robin Bailey, David Mabey, Anna Last, Stephen L. Walker
2019
PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases. 2019;13(11):e0007820.
Neglected tropical diseases: elimination and eradication.
Christopher Bodimeade, Michael Marks, David Mabey
2019
Clinical Medicine (London). 2019;19(2):157-160.
Harmonized clinical trial methodologies for localized cutaneous leishmaniasis and potential for extensive network with capacities for clinical evaluation
Piero Olliaro, Max Grogl, Marina Boni, Edgar M. Carvalho, Houda Chebli, Mamoudou Cisse, Ermias Diro, Gláucia Fernandes Cota, Astrid C. Erber, Endalamaw Gadisa, Farhad Handjani, Ali Khamesipour, Alejandro Llanos-Cuentas, Liliana López Carvajal, Lise Grout, Badre Eddine Lmimouni, Mourad Mokni, Mohammad Sami Nahzat, Afif Ben Salah, Yusuf Ozbel, Juan Miguel Pascale, Nidia Rizzo Molina, Joelle Rode, Gustavo Romero, José Antonio Ruiz-Postigo, Nancy Gore Saravia, Jaime Soto, Soner Uzun, Vahid Mashayekhi, Ivan Dario Vélez, Florian Vogt, Olga Zerpa, Byron Arana
2019
PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases. 2018;12(1):e0006141.
Updates
Updates List Block
Steve Walker presents on World NTD Day at LCNTDR
London Centre for Neglected Tropical Disease Research
Steve Walker presenting at London Centre for Neglected Tropical Disease Research

On the first World NTD Day, Steve Walker presented about SHARP at an event organized by the London Centre for Neglected Tropical Disease Research (LCNTDR). The gathering included more than 145 attendees and a keynote address by Catherine West, a member of parliament and chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Malaria and NTDs.

Read more about the World NTD Day

Press release: £5 million project to tackle tropical diseases of the skin

The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) is to co-lead a major new project to identify the best ways to improve the diagnosis, treatment and quality of life of people with neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) of the skin.

Read more about the £5 million project

Kick-off meetings in Addis and Accra

The SHARP team held highly productive meetings in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 2-3 December and in Accra, Ghana on 5-6 December, 2019 to kick off the research programme. Members of the LSHTM team first joined researchers from AHRI and Addis Ababa University for a two-day meeting in Addis before flying to Accra for a second two-day meeting with researchers from KNUST/KCCR and the Noguchi Memorial Institute at the University of Ghana. While some members of the team are longstanding collaborators, these face-to-face meetings also allowed other members of the team to meet one another for the first time. Presentations were given on all aspects of the research programme and plans agreed for how to take the research forwards. External stakeholders participated in both meetings and provided valuable guidance on how to ensure that the research programme produces positive change for individuals and communities affected by neglected tropical diseases of the skin.  

SHARP research team members
Some of the research team members at the project kick-off meeting, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, December 2019
SHARP research team members
Some of the research team members at the project kick-off meeting, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, December 2019