The impact of integrating the elimination programme for lymphatic filariasis into primary health care in the Dominican Republic

Int J Health Plann Manage. 2007 Oct-Dec;22(4):337-52. doi: 10.1002/hpm.900.


Integration of disease-specific programmes into existing health care delivery systems is a challenge for many countries, made more salient as the scope and scale of disease-specific programmes increases. This paper reports on the programmatic outcomes of 2 years of integrating the lymphatic filariasis (LF) elimination programme into primary health care (PHC) in the Dominican Republic during a period of national health care reform and decentralization. Data were collected retrospectively from community volunteers, PHC staff and LF programme staff using a mix of quantitative and qualitative methods. Benefits of integration for LF elimination included increasing the extent of the geographic coverage of mass drug administration (MDA) and a 21% increase in municipalities achieving the MDA target coverage rate of 80%. Benefits which accrued to PHC included improved information systems and strengthened relationships between the health services and the community. This study also identified challenges to implementing integration and the solutions found. These include the importance of focusing on the professional development of disease-specific program staff as their roles change, strengthening specific weakness in the general health system and finding alternative solutions where these are not easily solved, actively engaging senior management at an early stage, continually evaluating the impact of integration and not pushing integration for the sake of integration.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Dominican Republic
  • Elephantiasis, Filarial / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Primary Health Care / organization & administration*
  • Program Evaluation
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires