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After the Summit: SEARO Pledges Greater Attention to NTDs, Research Explores Social Solutions & Other #NTD News

News roundup

This news roundup is a collection of headlines and other items on neglected tropical diseases, and does not reflect the work or the views of the Neglected Tropical Diseases Support Center. 

Tropical Data_RTI

Trachoma survey teams enter data at a home in Kébémer, Senegal using the Tropical Data app.


Lymphatic filariasis

Persistent ‘hotspots’ of lymphatic filariasis microfilaraemia despite 14 years of mass drug administration in Ghana

Nana-Kwadwo Biritwum et al.
Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene
An ecological study was carried out to compare baseline mf prevalence and anti-microfilaria interventions between hotspot and stopped-MDA districts...: The main difference in hotspots and stopped-MDA districts was a high baseline mf prevalence. This finding indicates that the recommended 5–6 rounds annual treatment may not achieve interruption of transmission.

A practical approach for scaling up the alternative strategy for the elimination of lymphatic filariasis in Loa loa endemic...

Louise A. Kelly-Hope et al.
Global Health Research and Policy
We reviewed relevant data available to WHO and in the literature for LF-L. loa endemic countries to develop a simple method to support the scale-up of MDA to eliminate LF...This IU-level model is simple to follow and will help LF elimination programmes develop an action plan and scale up the implementation of alternative treatment strategies in L. loa co-endemic areas. The model could be further developed to incorporate the additional complexity of IUs where an intervention is required to eliminate onchocerciasis, particularly in hypo-endemic areas where ivermectin has not been used.

Guidelines for Use of Narrative Survey Instruments to Improve MDA for Lymphatic Filariasis elimination

Timothy Lynam and Alison Krentel
Neglected Tropical Diseases Support Center
The target audience for these guidelines is district-level implementation agencies that are concerned with achieving their targets for mass drug administration. The purpose of these guidelines is to introduce the following: the concept of narratives and how they can be a valuable tool in understanding people’s health behaviors in the context of NTD control and elimination as well as in other programs; why building partnerships for this research is so important and some of the key steps needed to develop effective collaborative relationships; the survey instrument used to collect these narratives, outlined in terms of its core components as well as specific survey questions that can be customized to fit the local context; the process of analyzing the quantitative and qualitative components of the questionnaire; the dissemination plan; and additional resources.

Functional genomics in Brugia malayi reveal diverse muscle nAChRs and differences between cholinergic anthelmintics

Saurabh Verma, Sudhanva Srinivas Kashyap, Alan Patrick Robertson and Richard John Martin
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Methods for studying functional genomics of ion-channel target sites of antinematodal drugs (anthelmintics) have been limited to the model nematode Caenorhabditis elegans because many techniques for studying animal parasitic nematodes have been unsuccessful. Here, we develop preparations of the human parasite Brugia malayi, which causes elephantiasis, to allow us to combine RNAi, PCR amplification of RNA from single muscle cells, computer analysis of movement, and patch-clamp electrophysiology to study the action of cholinergic anthelmintics.


Ensuring Onchocerciasis Control is More than Just "Skin Deep" by Ending the Neglect of Onchodermatitis

Louise Hamill et al.
The COUNTDOWN team in Buea, Cameroon, are working hard to ensure that the assessment of skin disease caused by onchocerciasis is firmly embedded within the alternative onchocerciasis control strategies they are developing. The work, led by Professor Samuel Wanji, Dr Joe Turner and Professor Mark Taylor, aims to implement these alternative strategies for the control and elimination of river blindness (onchocerciasis) in South West Cameroon. Onchocerciasis control in South West Cameroon has been sub-optimal using conventional approaches (Wanji et al., 2015), and so new, alternative strategies are urgently needed.

The Genomic Architecture of Novel Simulium damnosum Wolbachia Prophage Sequence Elements and Implications for Onchocerciasis...

James L. Crainey et al.
Frontiers in Microbiology
Here we characterise the DNA sequence flanking the FtsZ gene of wDam, a genetically distinct line of Wolbachia isolated from the West African onchocerciasis vector Simulium squamosum E...These findings provide insights into how Wolbachia could affect a medically important vector of onchocerciasis, with potential implications for future control methods, as well as supporting the hypothesis that Wolbachia phages do not follow the standard model of phage evolution.


Water, dams, and prawns: novel ecological solutions for the control and elimination of schistosomiasis

Susanne H Sokolow et al.
The Lancet
Because dams block prawn migrations, our results suggest that prawn extirpation contributes to the sharp increase of schistosomiasis after damming, and points to prawn restoration as an ecological solution to reduce human disease.

HeartWorming Results: TB vaccine safe for schistosomiasis-infected teens

Beth Jones
PLoS Research News
Anne Wajja of the MRC/UVRI Uganda Research Unit and colleagues conducted a clinical trial to test the candidate TB vaccine MVA85A on 36 healthy Ugandan teenagers, half of whom were known to be infected with the flatworm Schistosoma mansoni, the rest having no worm infections...They found that all the adolescents showed a positive immune response to the vaccine, with the those infected with S. mansoni responding just as well as uninfected teens. No patients experienced any adverse medical events. Since teenagers in tropical countries are both vulnerable to TB and frequently infected with worms, this is a promising result for the development of TB vaccines for this population.

Evaluating the variation in the projected benefit of community-wide mass treatment for schistosomiasis...

Hugo C. Turner et al.
Parasites & Vectors
In this paper, we employ a previously described deterministic fully age-structured schistosomiasis transmission model and evaluate the benefit of community-wide mass treatment both in terms of controlling morbidity and eliminating transmission for Schistosoma mansoni, across a wide range of epidemiological settings and programmatic scenarios...Community-wide mass treatment was found to be more effective for controlling the transmission of schistosome parasites than using a school-based programme only targeting school-aged children. However, in the context of morbidity control, the potential benefit of switching to community-wide mass treatment was highly variable across the different scenarios analysed. In contrast, for areas where the goal is to eliminate transmission, the projected benefit of community-wide mass treatment was more consistent.

Pattern analysis of schistosomiasis prevalence by exploring predictive modeling in Jiangling County, Hubei Province, P.R. China

Shang Xia et al.
Infectious Diseases of Poverty
The pattern analysis of schistosomiasis prevalence in Jiangling County is of significant importance for promoting schistosomiasis surveillance and control in the similar endemic areas...The results of village clusters and the predictive matrix can be regarded as the basis to conduct targeted measures for schistosomiasis surveillance and control. Furthermore, the proposed models and methods can be modified to investigate the schistosomiasis prevalence in other regions as well as be used for investigating other parasitic diseases.

Comparison of the spatial patterns of schistosomiasis in Zimbabwe at two points in time, spaced twenty-nine years apart...

Ulrik B. Pedersen et al.
Geospatial Health
We evaluated potential climate-induced changes on the geographical distribution of schistosomiasis in Zimbabwe using prevalence data from two points in time, 29 years apart; to our knowledge, this is the first study investigating this over such a long time period. We applied historical weather data and matched prevalence data of two schistosome species (Schistosoma haematobium and S. mansoni)...The observed general downward trend in schistosomiasis prevalence for Zimbabwe from 1981 and the period preceding a survey and control campaign in 2010 parallels a shift towards a drier and warmer climate. However, a statistically significant relationship between climate change and the change in prevalence could not be established.

Quantitative assessment of the impact of partially protective anti-schistosomiasis vaccines

Ramzi A. Alsallaq, David Gurarie, Martial Ndeffo Mbah, Alison Galvani and Charles King
PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Our objective is to quantify the population-level impact of anti-Schistosoma vaccines when administered alone and in combination with mass drug administration (MDA) and determine factors in vaccine design and public health implementation that optimize vaccination role in schistosomiasis control and elimination...To be successful a vaccine-based control strategy will need a moderately to highly effective formulation combined with early vaccination of potential contaminators and aggressive coverage in repeated rounds of mass vaccination. Compared to MDA-only program, vaccination combined with MDA accelerates and prolongs the impact by reducing the acquisition of new worms and reducing egg release from residual worms.

Optimization of the Helmintex method for schistosomiasis diagnosis

Vivian Favero et al.
Experimental Parasitology
Modifications performed in the Helmintex method significantly decreased the time for completing examination. The treatment of fecal debris with Tween-20 significantly reduced the final sediment produced by the Helmintex method. Incubation with Tween 20, removal of the 75 μm aperture sieve and staining with ninhydrin resulted in improved egg recovery.

Soil-Transmitted Helminthiasis

Identification of antigenic proteins in Strongyloides stercoralis by proteomic analysis

Rutchanee Rodpai et al.
Parasitology Research
trongyloides stercoralis is an intestinal helminth that infects people worldwide. Hyperinfection or disseminated human strongyloidiasis can involve vital organs, leading to lethal outcomes. We analyzed immunoproteomics of antigenic spots, derived from S. stercoralis third-stage larvae and reacted with human strongyloidiasis sera, by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis and immunoblotting.


Antibiotic Tracker Brings Greater Transparency to Trachoma Elimination Program

The Task Force for Global Health
The Zithromax Shipment Tracker is open access, allowing anyone interested to view information about shipments to specific countries at any given time. Visual representations indicate the locations of shipments at different points in the supply chain. “This information was always available to partners,” says ITI Director Paul Emerson, PhD. “But having the Tracker gives everyone faster and easier access to this information, which improves trust and accountability and helps ensure that MDA happens on time.”

How Mexico eliminated trachoma, the leading preventable cause of blindness

Pan American Health Organization
For years, Micaela Santis Gomez would use a hair clip to pull out her eyelashes. That was the only way she could stop the tearing and pain they caused as a result of trachoma, an infectious disease that makes the eyelashes grow inward and touch the cornea, which can eventually lead to blindness...To fight trachoma, Mexico implemented the four interventions of the SAFE strategy: surgery for people at imminent risk of blindness; administration of antibiotics in affected communities to reduce infection in children and to stop transmission; promotion of improved personal hygiene, especially facial hygiene, to prevent community contagion; and improved environmental conditions, with increased access to drinking water and sanitation.

Prevalence of Trachoma in Northern Benin: Results from 11 Population-Based Prevalence Surveys Covering 26 Districts

Amadou Alfa Bio et al.
Ophthalmic Epidemiology
In northern Benin, over 8000 people need surgery or other interventions for trichiasis to reach the trichiasis elimination threshold prevalence in each EU, and just over one million people need a combination of antibiotics, facial cleanliness and environmental improvement for the purposes of trachoma’s elimination as a public health problem. The current distribution of ophthalmic clinical officers does not match surgical needs.

Interview: International Trachoma Initiative and Pfizer On Par To Eliminate Trachoma-caused Blindness

Alice Ferng
We bring to you an exclusive interview with Dr. Paul Emerson, the Director of the International Trachoma Initiative (ITI), and Julie Jenson, director of the global health donation program for Pfizer Corporate Responsibility. Dr. Emerson is a scientist and academic practitioner who is very interested in neglected tropical diseases, as well as monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of programs. Julie has been with Pfizer for 15 years and has a public health degree, which allows her to combine her manufacturing and supply chain technical background with global health initiatives. She currently leads Pfizer’s targeted international product donations that are directed to areas identified by the Trachoma Mapping Project.

To End Neglected Tropical Diseases, Start With The Basics Of Clean Water And Sanitation For The World’s Poorest

James Kiyimba
The Huffington Post
Uganda, along with several other trachoma-endemic countries, has committed to eliminating trachoma by 2020. But this requires a multi-track approach: surgery to treat the blinding stage of the disease, antibiotics to clear the infection and improved access to clean water and sanitation to keep the face clean and reduce transmission. While surgery and antibiotics have often been prioritised, the sanitation and hygiene aspects of trachoma prevention have not been addressed.

People, not statistics: Two individuals in the fight against NTDs

RTI International
Ndoumbé Ndiaye, 73 years old, Kébémer, Senegal, describes her struggle with trachoma. Trachoma, a neglected tropical disease, is the leading infectious cause of blindness worldwide. If left untreated, trachoma can cause irreversible blindness..."I spent a lot of time rubbing my eyes. When the light shone, tears flowed without stopping. I could no longer work normally in the fields or at home. I always had a handkerchief with me to clean my tears. I sent my young girls to shop in the village and market. Today my grandchildren and my daughter-in-law help me to move around because of my bad eyes.”


WHO South-East Asia pledge intensified efforts against neglected tropical diseases

World Health Organization Regional Office for South-East Asia
Adopting a ‘Call for Action’ at a high-level ministerial meeting in Jakarta, Member countries pledged according highest priority to accelerating efforts against neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). “WHO South-East Asia made the battle against NTDs a regional health priority and a flagship programme in 2014. We are seeing significant progress. Last year alone India was declared yaws-free, and Maldives and Sri Lanka eliminated lymphatic filariasis as a public health problem. Our Region continues to undertake the largest preventive chemotherapy campaign in the world,” Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director WHO South-East Asia said.

Community-directed mass drug administration is undermined by status seeking in friendship networks and inadequate trust...

Goylette F. Chami et al.
Social Science & Medicine
In Mayuge District, Uganda, census-style surveys were conducted for 16,357 individuals from 3,491 households in 17 villages. Praziquantel, albendazole, and ivermectin were administered for one month in community-directed [mass drug administration, or] MDA to treat Schistosoma mansoni, hookworm, and lymphatic filariasis. Self-reported treatment outcomes, socioeconomic characteristics, friendship networks, and health advice networks were collected. We investigated systematically missed coverage and noncompliance...[Community medicine distributors, or] CMDs were more likely to offer medicines, and to accurately administer the drugs as trained by the national control programme, to individuals with high friendship degree (many connections) and high friendship closeness centrality (households that were only a short number of steps away from all other households in the network).

Of being impoverished and diseased

Shreerupa Mitra-Jha
Governance Now
Though in 2015 about 1.59 billion people received treatment for at least one of the 18 diseases that constitute NTD, blinding, maiming, disfiguring and debilitating their victims, the global attention on the subject has waned over the years...More than 70 percent of countries and territories that report the presence of NTDs are low or lower-middle income economies. They don’t, by and large, affect people who can afford expensive medicines and vaccines. Moreover, with the advent of HIV/AIDS, the huge increase in incidence of non-communicable diseases like cancer, and the devastating death rates from malaria and tuberculosis, majority of the donors’ funding has been diverted towards tackling these ailments.

Neglected tropical diseases: Funding the next stage of the fight

Priti Patnaik
Foreign aid for NTDs amounted to about $200 million to $300 million a year between 2012 and 2014, according to a report from the World Health Organization. “A relatively small amount of financing is needed to have big impact on NTDs,” Christopher Fitzpatrick, a health economist for the WHO, said at the summit. Yet delegates also highlighted that while NTDs are considered one of the best buys in public health, they continue to be underfunded, and remain largely dependent on donors. More of the much-needed resources for the next stage of the fight — which in 2015 the WHO estimated at $750 million a year up to 2020, and $460 million a year thereafter — must come from national governments and innovative financing, they said.

Accelerating The Control And Elimination Of Neglected Tropical Diseases In Africa

Matshidiso Rebecca Moeti
Speak Up Africa
Why is it so important to tackle NTDs with everything we’ve got right now? Because these diseases have been neglected for too long and have ravaged too many of our communities. The impact of NTDs reaches far beyond people’s health. NTDs threaten the economic well-being and livelihoods of the people who contract them, sinking victims ever deeper into poverty and making it impossible for them to reverse the cycle...Now is the time to defeat NTDs. The window of opportunity to achieve our 2020 targets is right in front of us, and we can’t let it close.

Kenya still has a long way to go to eliminate tropical ailments

Eunice Kilonzo
Daily Nation
World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Director for Africa Matshidiso Rebecca Moeti said that while “tremendous progress” has been made, the global control and elimination targets “cannot be met without increased financial support, stronger political commitment and better tools to prevent, diagnose and treat the diseases.”...The summit concluded that NTDs are not just a public health concern, if addressed they have economic gains. Eliminating the diseases could by the 2020 target set by WHO could add $52 billion to economies in sub-Saharan Africa by 2030.

Why Nigeria Must Care About Neglected Tropical Diseases

Femi Oyadiran
All Africa
Nigeria is the 7th most populous nation in the world and according to UNICEF, 70% of the population lives on less than a $1 a day. This comes with several challenges as Nigeria is laden with 25% of the burden of NTDs in Africa. Due to the deep-rooted poverty in about 51% of the population, about 10million Nigerians are at risk of contracting NTDs or already have untreated cases of NTDs. A large share of the NTDs recognized by the WHO have their abode in Nigeria. Notable ones include; trachoma, buruli ulcer, Human African trypanosomiasis, Dengue fever, Schistosomiasis, lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis and soil transmitted helminthes among others.

Integration as the next step in controlling Neglected Tropical Diseases

Dr. Suzy Campbell
For those NTDs amenable to preventive chemotherapy approaches, the success of integrated delivery of largely donated medicines to alleviate morbidity is without question. Further level of integration within and across the health system needs to continue and it is now time to augment this with tailored activities along with global advocacy. Increased cross-sectoral work is essential to integrate NTD control and elimination programmes within the broader vision of universal health coverage. But, as highlighted by Dr Dirk Engels, Director of the WHO Department of Control of NTDs, integration is extremely complex and no one yet knows enough about what this means. Without doubt, though, NTD development will improve general living conditions, and thus striving for better cross-sector working with integrated solutions is crucial.

A novel framework to account for ecological drivers in the control and elimination of environmentally transmitted disease...

Giulio A De Leo et al.
The Lancet
We developed a simple modelling framework that is able to capture the two main transmission pathways—namely, direct (host-to-host transmission, such in the case of influenza and measles) and transmission through an environmental reservoir (such, in the case of cholera, vector borne diseases, helminthiasis and sapronosis)...Through the analysis of system dynamics, we show that periodic drug treatments that lead to the elimination of directly transmitted diseases might fail to do so in the case of human pathogens with an environmental reservoir. For environmentally transmitted diseases, more effective control can be achieved when classic treatment strategies are complemented with interventions that act on the environmental reservoir of the pathogen or reduce exposure.

India, UK, US to collaborate on neglected diseases initiative

Eastern Mirror
University students from India, the UK and the US will collaborate on a new first-of-its-kind research and development project aimed at discovering potential drugs for patients living with neglected diseases like kala-azar. The ‘Open Synthesis Network (OSN)’ project between five universities was launched by non-profit research and development organisation Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) this week. It involves collaboration between 25 under-graduate and Master’s students in Chemistry from participating universities.

Women in Focus Awards honor work to fight neglected tropical diseases

The Women in Focus Awards, a prestigious, global initiative, celebrates the vital role women play in combating neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) globally. The chosen honorees — Grace Aciro Oyat, Agnes Ochai, Edridah and Dhekra Annuzaili, MD — accepted their awards at a ceremony held in Geneva, Switzerland.

COUNTDOWN Consortium: Sharing Learning on using a Multidisciplinary Approach to the Study of Neglected Tropical Diseases...

Akinola Oluwole et al.
There is an African proverb that says “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” This proverb fits with the COUNTDOWN consortium’s vision to improve the control/elimination of NTDs through a “multidisciplinary research approach” to generate quality data. To achieve this, the consortium draws together experts from different disciplines. Undertaking good multidisciplinary research is an art which takes time and dedication. Reflecting on our experiences it is important to consider the following factors:

Springtime in Scotland with the British Society for Parasitology

For the first time ever, the BSP held its 3-day annual spring meeting in the city of Dundee. The timetable covered a full range of stimulating scientific parasitology, giving attendees a schedule bursting with opportunities to strengthen their own research interests, but also discover the advances being made in other fields such as drug discovery, veterinary parasitology, epidemiology, molecular cell biology, parasite diversity and much more.


New UCI Malaria Initiative aims to disrupt deadly disease transmission in Africa

News Medical
University of California, Irvine vector biologist Anthony James will lead a multimillion-dollar effort to cultivate new strains of mosquitoes to fight malaria in Africa...To aid this endeavor, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is providing $2 million for the generation of sustainable, genetics-based approaches to controlling malaria parasite transmission by the vector mosquito Anopheles gambiae.

Could there be a 'social vaccine' for malaria?

Malaria is a global killer and a world health concern. But while millions of dollars are spent each year searching for innovative health solutions, new research from the University of Alberta suggests part of the answer may begin with mothers in the classroom..."This was not a small effect. Maternal education had an enormous effect--equivalent to or greater than the leading biomedical vaccine against malaria," says Michael Hawkes, senior author and assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Alberta.

Why 8% Of India's Population Accounts For 46% Of The Total Malaria Burden

Jayeeta Chowdhury
The Huffington Post
Despite improvement in surveillance over the last few years, the actual burden of malaria is yet to be known—there is poor coverage, low examination of blood smears, weak reporting systems and no reporting of malaria-related data from the private sector. In the absence of such formal functioning health care systems, tribal communities often confine themselves to traditional practices and healers.

Motorcycles, Cell Phones, and Electricity Can Dramatically Change the Epidemiology of Infectious Disease in Africa

Jean-Christophe Lagier, Cheikh Sokhna and Didier Raoult
The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Some observations and recent publications demonstrated, particularly in Africa, the potential influence that low-cost motorcycles, cell phones, and even widespread electrification could have on the evolution of infectious diseases, particularly zoonoses. Our reflections support the conclusion that we should focus on the real-time surveillance systems including alerting systems leading to a rapid and flexible response rather than the strongly limited modeling of infectious diseases because of the continuous evolution of microorganisms, as well as changes in the environment and human habits that are unpredictable.

Tiger on the prowl: Invasion history and spatio-temporal genetic structure of the Asian tiger mosquito Aedes albopictus...

Andrew J. Maynard et al.
PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
The Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus, is an extremely invasive and aggressive daytime-biting mosquito that is a major public health threat throughout its expanding range...There appears to be high spatial genetic structure and high gene flow between some geographically distant populations. The species' genetic structure in the region tends to favour a dispersal pattern driven mostly by human movements. Importantly, this study provides a more widespread sampling distribution of the species’ native range, revealing more spatial population structure than previously shown.

When Getting Health Care Means Hiking Through A Leopard’s Hunting Ground

Hanna McNeish
The Huffington Post
Our party ― two journalists, two health workers and a handful of local guides ― is on an expedition into this forest in Kenya’s Rift Valley to meet people plagued by bloodsucking sandflies that transmit a flesh-eating disease called cutaneous leishmaniasis...We’re so scared of being eaten that we shelve our previous fears of getting infected with the flesh-eating disease we’re here to investigate...But these grisly stories say nothing of the sandflies, which can inject parasites that slowly eat away at the skin, causing deep, horribly itchy sores.

Environmental and Behavioral Drivers of Buruli Ulcer Disease in Selected Communities Along the Densu River Basin of Ghana: A Cas

Samuel Yaw Aboagye et al.
The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
We conducted a case-control study where cases were matched by their demographic characteristics and place of residence...In the absence of the exact [Mycobacterium ulcerans, or] MU transmission mechanisms, education of public in [Buruli ulcer, or] BU-endemic zones on the use of protective clothing during farming activities to limit exposure of the skin and proper wound care management would be essential in the fight against BU.

State ships 500 test kits to Mombasa to contain outbreak

Rhoda Odhiambo
The Star, Kenya
The government will ship close to 500 rapid test kits after a dengue fever outbreak was reported in Mombasa last week. A total of 352 people have been diagnosed with the mosquito-borne tropical disease in several health centres across the county...Sultani Matendechero, head of the Neglected Tropical Diseases Unit at the Health ministry, told the Star that a response team will also be formed and will work together with the Mombasa government to contain the situation. “We are not really surprised with the outbreak. Such cases are expected to go up as a result of the rainy season. The outbreak also comes at a time when we had just concluded a study on dengue fever in Mombasa,” Matendechero said.

A Heartbreaking Look At Leprosy In 2017

Sara Perria
The Huffington Post
Though curable and not highly contagious, the disease has long carried an intense social stigma, one that used to relegate people with leprosy to the fringes of Myanmar society. Modern treatment has erased some of this stigma, but even those who are cured shoulder a heavy emotional burden.

Going Social: How targeting stigma and discrimination can accelerate progress towards a leprosy-free world

World Health Organization Regional Office for South-East Asia
Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director of WHO South-East Asia, where the Global Leprosy Programme is based, says efforts to root-out stigma and discrimination are vital to achieving the goal of zero leprosy transmission and zero leprosy-related disabilities, especially among children. “Leprosy-related stigma is a crucial barrier to ending the disease once and for all. Despite the highly effective medicines at our disposal, leprosy continues to be transmitted and irreversible leprosy-related disabilities continue to occur,” she says. “By targeting the disease’s social components we can make further progress in key communities and accelerate towards a leprosy-free world.”

Leader in fight against leprosy bags WHO gold medal

Asian News International
Yohei Sasakawa, Chairman of The Nippon Foundation, has been conferred with the World Health Organisation's gold medal at the Global Partners Meeting on Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), held in Geneva...Dr Chan expressed her thanks towards the efforts undertaken by Saskawa. In his acceptance speech, the Nippon Foundation Chairman outlined three areas of activities that have proven effective in raising awareness against leprosy, and expressed his determination to continue his work to eliminate both the disease.


Clues to Zika Damage Might Lie in Cases of Twins

Pam Belluck and Tania Franco
The New York Times
Twins often yield clues to medical mysteries because their biological similarities allow scientists to identify relevant differences. Determining why one twin became infected in the womb while the other did not may illuminate how Zika crosses the placenta, how it enters the brain, and whether any genetic mutations make a fetus more resistant or susceptible to Zika infection.

Scientists loose 40,000 sex-hungry mosquitos in Florida to fight Zika

Susan Milius
Science News
Instead of trying to kill the mosquitoes directly, a losing battle in Florida, a Kentucky company called MosquitoMate has infected Aedes aegypti mosquitoes with a strain of Wolbachia bacteria that makes the males disastrous dads. When these males mate with uninfected wild females, their offspring die before hatching.

The Prevention and Public Health Fund — Lessons from States; Questions for Policymakers

Amy Clary, Jill Rosenthal and Trish Riley
National Academy for State Health Policy
The American Health Care Act, which proposes to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), would dismantle the Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF). States received over $625 million from the PPHF in fiscal year 2016, and stand to lose more than $3 billion over five years if it is repealed. The bill would repeal all new appropriations for the PPHF starting in fiscal year 2019, and rescind any funds left over at the end of 2018...States could also lose $40 million from the Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Infectious Diseases (ELC) Cooperative Agreement if the PPHF is abolished by the American Health Care Act. The ELC also gave cities and states an additional $60 million in July 2016 to fight Zika.

Upcoming Events

May 16-17, London, UK
The International Society for Neglected Tropical Diseases
ISNTD d3 will bring together experts from within drug discovery and clinical trials to drive the debate and foster new partnerships & alliances leading to tangible outcomes in terms of new therapies to combat these diseases.

WorldLeish-6 Congress
May 16-20, Toledo, Spain
WHO ColIaborating Centre for Leishmaniasis
The Scientific Programme of the upcoming Congress will address issues ranging from molecules to disease control, with the patient as the main focus. The agenda will feature contemporary lectures, hot-topic sessions, and satellite symposia covering the latest developments on leishmaniasis. The educational programme of the Congress will strike a balance between the needs of basic research and clinical issues.

Vector Borne Disease 5 Day Workshop
May 22-26, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
The MENTOR Initiative
The MENTOR Initiative is now delighted to be able to offer a new training course designed specifically to strengthen the capacity of agencies to implement effective and coordinated vector borne disease control activities, either as a focus or as part of broader disease control activities.

Designing & Managing Public Health Information Systems
May 23-July 18, Online Course
PHII Informatics Academy
Designing and Managing Public Health Information Systems: 8 Steps to Success is a short, instructor-supported, distance learning course in public health informatics. Volume discounts apply for team registrations!

Antimicrobials and Drug Resistance
May 30-June 1, Las Vegas, USA
Antifungal and antiparasitic are class of medication for pharmaceutical fungicide or fungistatic used to treat and prevent mycoses and treatment of parasitic diseases, such as those caused by helminths etc, respectively. Invasive fungal infections causes significant health problem in immune compromised patients.  So as the clinical manifestations vary and can range from colonization in allergic broncho pulmonary disease to active infection in local aetiologic agents. Therefore drug dose monitoring is necessary to ensure the therapeutic levels achieved for optimal clinical efficacy.

Management and Leadership Course for Health Workers
June 5-9, Ibadan, Nigeria
West African College of Physicians
The West African College of Physicians (WACP) with the Faculty of Community Health and the Department of Health Policy and Management at University College Hospital & College of University of Ibadan announce the Management and Leadership Course for Health Workers. Our highly respected trainers are humbly urged to encourage their trainees to attend this course.

Health Systems Summer Institute
June 12-23, Baltimore, Maryland
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
The new Health Systems Summer Institute provides early- and mid-career public health professionals the skills necessary to address key health systems issues of today. The Institute is also a great opportunity for part-time MPH and other Hopkins students and fellows to learn a valuable set of skills in an in-demand, and rapidly growing field of public health.

European Educational Programme in Epidemiology (EEPE)
June 13-July 7, Florence, Italy
International Epidemiological Association
The course is intended for epidemiologists, statisticians, clinicians and public health practitioners with an interest in epidemiology. The course is taught in English and held in residential form in the “Studium” centre, Florence.

Update Course in Clinical Tropical Medicine and Travelers' Health
June 14-15, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
ASTMH has developed this course as an update in the essential components of tropical medicine and travelers' health. This two-day meeting is designed for physicians and for all other health care providers working in tropical medicine or travelers' health. Speakers are internationally recognized authorities in the field. 

The 7th International Lymphoedema Framework Conference
June 21-24, Siracusa, Sicily, Italy
The ILF 2017 Conference will gather practioners, researchers, affiliates and stakeholders from all over the world. It is thus a great opportunity to present your knowledge to a multi-stakeholder audience.

Global Health Focus: Repurposing for Rare Diseases and Orphan Drug Development
June 27-28, 2017
The 6th Annual Drug Repositioning, Repurposing and Rescue Conference
Featured Presentation: Lead Repurposing as an Effective Approach for Neglected Tropical Disease Drug Discovery

European Congress of Epidemiology
July 4-6, Lyon, France
International Epidemiological Association
The European Congress of Epidemiology 2018, titled Crises, Epidemiological transitions and the role of epidemiologists, will take place on July 4-6 2018 in Lyon, France.

Annual General Scientific Meeting
July 17-21, Asaba, Nigeria
West African College of Physicians
THEME:Universal Access to Health; A Basic Necessity for Attainment of the SDGs; SUB-THEME: Building Sustainable Health Care Leadership for SDG Goal 3; CONFERENCE WORKSHOP TOPIC: Quality of Health Care

Advanced Residential Course on Poverty-Related and Neglected Tropical Diseases
July 17-August 4, Pemba Island, Zanzibar
Ivo de Carneri
The Course is addressed to professionals active or interested in public health, with diverse cultural and scientific background and competence. The Course is a practical opportunity to acquire a solid knowledge and a critical understanding on PR&NTD, thanks to the expertise of a high quality teaching team made of African and European lecturers with firsthand experience in the domain.

IEA 2017 World Congress of Epidemiology
August 19-22, Saitama, Japan
International Epidemiological Association
Following the 20th WCE in Anchorage in 2014, we believe to provide opportunities to exchange information about the development of epidemiology in all the fields and to strengthen the relationship among epidemiologists in the world. The main theme is “Global/Regional/Local Health and Epidemiology in a Changing World”, which is appropriate one for discussing the 3-year development of epidemiology from 2014 through 2017.

International Workshop on Disease Mapping in Low-resource Settings
September 14-15, Lancashire, England
Lancaster University
Hosted by Lancaster University on 14 - 15 September 2017, the multidisciplinary workshop will bring together international statistics and epidemiology experts to discuss the mapping of a wide range of diseases including neglected tropical diseases and malaria. 

The multidisciplinarity of parasitology: host-parasite evolution and control in an ever changing world
September 28, London, UK
British Society of Parasitology
The meeting’s aim will be to explore and broadly discuss recent progress towards understanding host-parasite relationships, with a particular emphasis on vectors and intermediate hosts of human diseases.  The meeting will also be a convenient opportunity to develop a festschrift in Parasitology in honour of Prof David Rollinson (a former President of the BSP), marking over forty years of parasitological research.

NNN Conference 2017
September 28-30, Dakar, Senegal
Neglected Tropical Disease NGO Network
NNN hosts its 2017 annual conference in Dakar, Senegal. More information to follow.

Women Leaders in Global Health
October 12, Stanford, CA
Women in Global Health
Women in Global Health is pleased to partner with Stanford University's Center for Innovation in Global Health to present the Women Leaders in Global Health Conference this October 12th, 2017. Registration is now open for this inaugural event. The conference builds on the global movement to press for gender equity in global health leadership by celebrating great works of emerging and established women in the field and cultivating the next generation of women leaders.

ASTMH 66th Annual Meeting
November 5-9, Baltimore, Maryland
American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
The ASTMH Annual Meeting draws tropical medicine and global health professionals representing academia, government, non-profits, philanthropy, NGOs, industry, military and private practice. The meeting is designed for researchers, professors, government and public health officials, military personnel, travel clinic physicians, practicing physicians in tropical medicine, students and all health care providers working in the fields of tropical medicine, hygiene and global health. 

Swedish-Ethiopian Course in Tropical Infections
November 13, 2017 - February 11, 2018, Stockholm, Sweden
Karolinska University Hospital
This is a course in clinical tropical medicine and HIV for clinicians. The overall aim is to provide general knowledge about infectious diseases which require or thrive in a warm climate and / or are important causes of morbidity and mortality in low-income countries. The focus is on diagnosis and treatment both in situations with scarce resources and in more affluent countries. The field visit to Ethiopia gives the participants a unique experience of the health system and infectious disease panorama in a developing country.

Eradicate Malaria World Congress 2018
February 18, 2018, Melbourne, Australia
The inaugural World Congress on Malaria - Eradicate Malaria 2018 - will bring together the broad global community including implementers, scientists, funders, governments, policy makers and those directly affected by the disease. The aim is to bring the broad spectrum of the malaria world together for the first time, to further galvanise the effort for the eradication of malaria.