Key Messages

Developing Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Strategies to Reduce Neglected Infectious Diseases

Reducing Prevalence of Trachoma, STH, and Ectoparasitosis in the Indigenous Communities of River Cubiyú, Vaupés, Colombia


A study of participatory microplanning for disease campaigns with indigenous communities of the River Cubiyú.


Indigenous Communities of River Cubiyú, Vaupés

Neglected Infectious Diseases

Trachoma, Soil-Transmitted Helminthiasis (STH), Ectoparasitosis

  • Make campaign decisions in a participatory manner; obtain endorsement by municipal and departmental health entities and authorities within the indigenous communities.
  • Use a health information system to improve real-time monitoring.
  • Conduct a health situation analysis to identify issues and adapt interventions to local contexts.
  • Click here for the full list of promising practices.

Key Messages

The Vaupés department in the southeastern Amazon Region of Colombia has a high burden of trachoma and other neglected infectious diseases (NIDs)* among its mainly indigenous population. The Universidad de los Andes conducted a study using a participatory action research design of community and stakeholder involvement in the microplanning process for integrated NID campaigns.

Involving the community was a guiding principle of this study.
  • Active participation of indigenous leaders and communities throughout all phases of an integrated campaign exercises their right to agency in health decisions, regulates the actions of institutions, and increases acceptance of proposed interventions.
  • Community participation should aim to provide tools for community agency in diagnosis, treatment, and control/elimination of disease.
  • Decisions must be made in consensus with all key stakeholders, and must respond to the community’s needs and way of life. 
  • Intersectoral collaboration is needed when evaluating costs and financing integrated campaigns.
  • Identification of key stakeholders and health situation analysis are the cornerstones for effective microplanning and implementation of integrated campaigns.
  • Health information management systems can enable georeferencing of indicators, improve real-time analysis of the health situation, facilitate microplanning, and improve real-time monitoring.
  • Health workers/promoters who speak the language(s) of the indigenous communities and understand their way of life can contribute to successful integration.
  • To prevent lack of decision-making that can delay the microplanning process, health authorities (rather than representatives) should be directly involved, and/or mechanisms in place to delegate decision-making.

*NIDs is the term used in the Region of the Americas that encompasses many neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).

The power of indigenous communities to exercise their rights to health and self-determination was the guiding principle of this collaborative planning process.