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Accelerating the Sustainable Control and Elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases (ASCEND)

Neglected Topical Diseases (NTDs) are a group of infectious diseases that thrive in poor and often rural settings, affecting 1.6 billion of the world’s poorest people and causing disability, disfigurement, stigma and death. The UK is one of the leading donors for NTD control activities.


ASCEND is a £200 million UK Government programme that works in 25 countries in Africa and Asia and focuses on six NTDs: trachoma, lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis, schistosomiasis, soil-transmitted helminths, and visceral leishmaniasis. ASCEND provides a comprehensive package of interventions to reduce disability, disfigurement, stigma, deaths, lost livelihoods and poverty which occur as a result of NTDs. 

In order to monitor, track and measure the impact of ASCEND, DFID contracted an independent third-party monitoring (TPM) consortium. The TPM consists of three workstreams: systems assessment, verification and evaluation.  

Our role

Itad is leading the evaluation workstream. The main purpose of our evaluation is to ensure that ASCEND is facilitating learning and adaptive management in order to improve the overall programme performance, and ultimately is having the intended impact. The focus on adaptive management is on implementing an integrated approach to NTD programming, embedding NTD activities within health systems and health system strengthening. 

Theory of Change

We developed a Theory of Change in order to structure the complexity within the ASCEND programme into an evaluable subject. The Theory of Change is the portfolio-level representation of ASCEND’s components structured into the broadest intervention pathways, from principles, inputs and activities to its outputs, outcomes and eventual impact.

Click here to view Theory of Change co-created by the TPM and ASCEND ETs and DFID during a workshop in December 2019.

Image: Lymphatic filariasis in Bangladesh © Credit: CDC Global (CC BY 2.0)

Team members