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14 of 17 Areas of Uganda Free from Onchocerciasis, Partners Take Aim at R&D Gap & 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.


Preventive treatment for river blindness in Uganda.

Lymphatic filariasis

National campaign ends but lymphatic filariasis treatment still available

Elizabeth Ah-Hi
Samoa Observer
The national campaign to eliminate lymphatic filariasis wrapped up last Friday but those who did not receive the treatment have until September 7 to access the cure. This is according to the C.E.O. of the Ministry of Health, Leausa Dr. Take Naseri, who sent out a statement thanking the public for their help in making the national campaign a success. While the national campaign was swift and successful, there are still people who have not received the treatment and Leausa said it’s vital for everyone in Samoa to take these pills in order to eliminate the disease.


14 areas in Uganda now free from river blindness

The Uganda National Onchocerciasis Elimination Committee, which includes representatives from the World Health Organisation (WHO), has announced that river blindness has been removed from 14 out of the 17 areas of the country where it was previously common. Some of these areas are home to migratory populations living in deep forests, which were challenging for health workers to reach. The announcement marks a huge step towards the goal of eliminating the disease in Uganda. While there are still challenges to be faced before elimination can be confirmed, this achievement means the infection is no longer being spread in most of the key areas.


A tropical parasitic disease has invaded Europe, thanks to a hybrid of two infectious worms

Elizabeth Pennisi
Infecting an estimated 230 million people, schistosomiasis is the world’s most widespread parasitic disease after malaria. But temperate latitudes were thought to be spared: Schistosome flatworms are common only in warm places in Africa, India, and South America. So parasitologist Jerome Boissier was surprised when, in a single week in 2014, physicians in France and Germany called him to report that two families who had never left Europe had developed the disease, which can cause fever, chills, muscle aches, and bloody urine.

Over 400 schistosomiasis cases reported in Rakhine

Mizzima (Myanmar)
World Health Organization experts joined local officials from the Myanmar Ministry of Health and Sports on a field visit to check out a schistosomiasis outbreak, reporting 828 suspected patients and 428 patients diagnosed with the disease, as of 20 August, according to local media.

Young Adults in Endemic Areas: An Untreated Group in Need of School-Based Preventive Chemotherapy for Schistosomiasis. . .

Harrison K. Korir et al.
Tropical Medicine and Infectious Disease
We have done a survey of 291 students and staff at the Kisumu National Polytechnic in Kisumu, Kenya, using the stool microscopy Kato-Katz (KK) method and the urine point-of-care circulating cathodic antigen (POC-CCA) test. . . This prevalence and intensity of infection with S. mansoni in a college setting warrants mass drug administration with praziquantel. This population of young adults is ‘in school’ and is both approachable and worthy of inclusion in national schistosomiasis control and elimination programs.

Impact of community-based integrated mass drug administration on schistosomiasis & soil-transmitted helminth prevalence in Togo

Rachel N. Bronzan et al.
PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
After four to five years of [mass drug administration, or] MDA in Togo, the prevalence and intensity of [soil-transmitted helminthiasis, or] STH and schistosomiasis infection were significantly reduced compared to baseline. Data on STH indicate that stopping MDA in areas with high baseline prevalence may result in significant rebound of infection. Togo’s findings may help refine treatment recommendations for these diseases.

Soil-Transmitted Helminthiasis

Bookworms, not hookworms: Preventing an overlooked disease can help children grow and learn

Amber Gove and Michael French
RTI International
One thing that most American families don’t have to worry about—but is a major concern for millions of students and parents in poor countries around the world—is parasitic worms. . . One study found that treatment against soil-transmitted helminths (also known as intestinal worms) reduced school absenteeism by as much as 25 percent. In addition to missed opportunities to learn, children who do not attend school are more likely to spend time in areas where they are exposed to infection (such as fields and rice paddies), thereby increasing transmission.

VIDEO: ENVISION In Focus: Scaling Up the NTD fight in Nigeria

RTI International
Millions of kids around the world go to school sick and tired every day, the healthy development of their brains and bodies hindered by parasites like schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminths. The latest video in ENVISION’s In Focus series follows the efforts of Nigeria’s Cross River State to protect kids from these harmful infections. Watch to learn how this massive response is changing the future of an entire state.

A long way from Laos

Jade Ramos-Poblete, Erica Kasper and Anandit Mu
PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
A 50-year-old male emigrated from Laos to California in the 1980s. Thirty years later, he was diagnosed with nephrotic range proteinuria due to membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis. . . The duodenal biopsy showed patchy mild chronic inflammation, villous edema, villous blunting, and parasites within crypts, consistent with Strongyloides stercoralis infection. Two stool specimens were negative for ova and parasites by trichrome stain; however, Strongyloides serology (IgG) was positive by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA, Quest Diagnostics, Valencia, California).


The future looks bright for trachoma elimination

Cara Macfarlane
Major strides have been made towards meeting the ambitious targets set out in resolution WHA 51.11, and 11 countries have so far reported meeting the elimination goals. . . In 2016 alone, over 260 000 people received surgical treatment for trichiasis and 85 million people received treatment. Global coverage with antibiotics had also increased to 44.8% in 2018 from the 29.6% coverage achieved in 2015, showing efforts are indeed accelerating. Other successes include the launch of Yemen’s first large-scale treatment campaign targeting around 450 000 people in May 2018, despite continuing civil unrest and instability.

Achieving universal eye health coverage: planning and human resource lessons from trachoma

Paul Courtright, Susan Lewallen and Tim Jesudasan
Community Eye Health Journal
In October 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) will publish its World Report on Vision. The report will provide a strategic path for the achievement of universal eye health coverage (UEHC). As the world’s leading infectious cause of blindness, lessons from the global trachoma elimination programme will support conversations on the achievement of [ universal eye health coverage, or] UEHC. . . Lessons learned from programmatic efforts to manage trachomatous trichiasis (TT) in sub-Saharan Africa inform us of three ways to strengthen the principles of UEHC, which will be relevant to other eye health issues detailed in the report.

How water is vital to fight trachoma

Cade Howard
Poor hygiene can lead to more people getting bacterial infections such as trachoma, a devastating but preventable eye disease that, if left untreated, can lead to irreversible blindness. This is why water, sanitation and hygiene activities ­– known as WASH – are a top priority for both prevention and post-operative care.


Global health R&D analysis reveals major gaps in critical tools and funding

Robert Terry
A new analysis has found that many of the products critically needed to fight some of the world’s most prevalent infectious diseases are not likely to be developed based on current candidates in the research & development (R&D) pipeline, and reveals significant gaps in funding for health innovation. . . “From TDR’s perspective this is especially true for the many missing products highlighted for neglected tropical diseases. As we work with countries to combat poverty-related infectious diseases, this capture of the gap in tools is essential to improve the health of the most vulnerable,” [TDR Director John Reeder] adds.

Wellcome Flagships will focus on five health innovation challenges

Stephen Caddick
We intend to commit up to £300m of our budget to five Flagships over the next six years. And we hope to work with partners who will share our commitment and help us to realise the ambition of each Flagship. . . Our aim for the Hub for Innovative Technologies for Neglected Tropical Diseases (HIT NTD) Flagship is to establish NTD drug discovery as a go-to area for collaboration and cutting-edge technology development and innovation. If we do so, we could dramatically reduce the timeline for drug discovery in making medicines for neglected populations.

State of health in the WHO African Region

The WHO Regional Office for Africa has set up a process to ensure that countries walk together as they march towards sustainable and equitable health. This report is a recognition of the complexity of actions needed. It aims to provide guidance on where countries need to focus as they plan their work towards attaining the [sustainable development goals, or] SDGs. It will also serve as a benchmark for future comparison of progress. This report is not a country scorecard. Rather, its purpose is to act as a compass to guide progress towards health in the SDGs. The Regional Office aims to regularly provide such information to countries, so that they can attain their health goals in the most efficient and effective manner.

ESPEN’s Super Goals and 2018 Progress

Expanded Special Project for Elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases (ESPEN)
ESPEN was established in the spirit of partnership between WHO, Member States and NTD partners in an effort to mobilize political, technical and financial resources to reduce the burden of the five most prevalent Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) in Africa: lymphatic filariasis (LF), onchocerciasis (ONCHO), soil-transmitted helminthiasis (STH), schistosomiasis (SCH) and trachoma (TRA). Since its launch in May 2016, ESPEN has been working with domestic and international partners to leverage US $17.8 billion in drug donations from pharmaceutical companies in order to expand coverage and access to treatments, strengthen health systems and dramatically reduce the NTD burden in Africa.

Nigeria And The Water Challenge

Leadership (Nigeria)
A report by the United Nation Children’s Fund, UNICEF, indicate that over 57 million Nigerians lack access to potable water. Many still source their water from polluted rivers, streams, ponds, lakes and irrigation canals and many other sundry sources. . . water-borne diseases include cholera, guinea-worm, river blindness, schistosomiasis or bilharzias and typhoid fever, which affect about 12 million people every year.

In rural Africa, lessons for the U.S. South about eradicating poverty-related diseases

Lyndsey Gilpin
Montgomery Advertiser
Now, doctors, researchers, community activists and lawmakers are working on programs and solutions to reduce the number of neglected tropical diseases in the U.S. South, including a hookworm vaccine, more active community surveillance efforts and better sanitation infrastructure. “The South is still highly endemic for tropical diseases closely associated with sanitation and closely associated with poverty,” [Rojelio] Mejia said. “It’s a multifactorial problem, and the answer will be get rid of poverty, which is a lofty goal. It’s not a person-to-person solution. It’s a public health solution.”

Drug Makers Give Billions to Fight Neglected Diseases Globally

Megan O’Neil
The Chronicle of Philanthropy
The milestones keep coming in the global fight against trachoma. In May, the World Health Organization officially declared Nepal free of the progressive eye disease. . . The strides made in reducing trachoma, as well as several other neglected tropical diseases such as lymphatic filariasis and schistosomiasis, is the result of a massive, decades-long multilateral undertaking by governments, the World Health Organization, and nonprofits.

Universal Health Coverage Is Only Possible if We Beat These 5 Diseases

Diana Duong
Global Citizen
“To succeed in delivering universal health coverage, and to respond effectively to future health challenges (such as sustaining the achievement of elimination of blinding trachoma), health systems need to be supported to become efficient, effective, integrated and informed,” Helen Hamilton, policy adviser at Sightsavers, an organization working to eliminate trachoma, once wrote. Essentially, to develop a strong and efficient health system, we need to first address life-altering diseases like NTDs.

VIDEO: Walking the Fine Line Between Ethical Practices and Public Health Goals

David Addiss
The Task Force for Global Health
When ethical issues arise in global health, how can practitioners and communities weigh the risks and benefits to agree on a path forward? The Task Force’s new program on ethics and compassion explores such questions and how to address them. In this video, program director, Dr. David Addiss, MD, talks about what makes the Focus Area for Compassion and Ethics in Global Health unique.


Description of the first sleeping sickness case diagnosed in Burkina Faso since two decades

Emilie Dama et al.
PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
In 2012, the roadmap for the Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) of the World Health Organization (WHO) included human African trypanosomiasis (HAT) to be eliminated as a public health problem by 2020. To reach this ambitious objective in Burkina Faso, where the vector (and consequently a risk of HAT re-emergence) is still present, a passive surveillance system based on sentinel sites was established in the southwestern part of the country, considered to be the most at-risk area. The implementation of this system recently resulted in the diagnosis of the first putative native sleeping sickness case since two decades.

Discovery aids disease elimination efforts

Grant Hill
Around 70 million people in sub-Saharan Africa are thought to be at risk of contracting sleeping sickness, which kills thousands of people each year. Nagana causes vast economic harm to these countries and can exacerbate food shortages. . . Taking on this challenge, a team from Dundee's Wellcome Centre for Anti-Infectives Research examined the mode-of-action of acoziborole, a cheap, safe and effective, orally administered drug, currently progressing well in advanced clinical trials against sleeping sickness.

Special Issue "Skin-Related Neglected Tropical Diseases (Skin-NTDs)—A New Challenge"

Roderick Hay and Kingsley Asiedu, Guest Editors
Tropical Medicine and Infectious Disease
A key challenge in taking the common feature of skin involvement in NTDs to this higher level is that skin disease in general is very common, particularly in resource-poor settings and seeking solutions to the identification and management of skin NTDs without addressing the commonality of skin disease is not an option. This Special Issue will explore the range of clinical manifestations and epidemiology of both skin NTDs and common skin disease in endemic regions, the use of common diagnostic and management pathways, the different technologies that play a role in diagnosis and training, and the role of patient and family involvement at the community level, as well as the assessment of the results of different studies or programmes in this field.

Battling exclusion: giving a voice to women affected by leprosy

Alice Cruz
The recognition of women’s central role in family healthcare—especially reproductive and children’s health—dismantled the misconception that men were more affected by leprosy, and since then the World Health Organization has recognized women as a priority group. But even with this recognition, women affected by leprosy are barely heard in public spaces.

Diagnostic tool detects disease-carrying mosquitoes

Adaku Onyenucheya
The Guardian (Nigeria)
Researchers investigating the pathogens that transmit Zika virus, dengue, chikungunya or yellow fever would heave a sigh of relief, as a new diagnostic tool that detects these microorganisms has been developed. The tool uses a smartphone camera, a small 3D-printed box and a simple chemical test to show if a dead mosquito belongs to the Aedes aegypti species, which carries Zika and other devastating viruses that afflict an estimated 100 million people worldwide each year.

New approach needed to tackle parasitic liver disease in Europe and Turkey

Ashok Moloo
World Health Organization
A cross-sectional study conducted in Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey has found that the true burden of cystic echinococcosis is poorly understood and that many cases remain asymptomatic, with no appropriate medical diagnosis and treatment. The study assessed the prevalence of the disease among rural populations in the three countries.

UK aid helps farmers across Africa grow their businesses and protect livestock

Department for International Development and The Rt Hon Penny Mordaunt MP
UK aid, through the Department for International Development (DFID), is supporting a number of separate transformative projects to protect the continent’s agricultural sector and its small farmers, including new support to the Global Alliance for Livestock Veterinary Medicines (GALVmed), helping to develop seven new vaccines for major neglected tropical diseases and widening their availability across Africa to benefit eight million smallholder farmers. This transformative UK aid research will not only stop diseases from destroying the livelihoods of African farmers, it could also help control livestock diseases on British farms.

VIDEO: Dr. Bill Foege Speaking About His New Books

The Task Force for Global Health
Our co-founder, Dr. Bill Foege, spoke and signed his two newest books on Saturday, September 1, 2018 at the Decatur Book Festival in Decatur, GA. The Fears of the Rich, the Needs of the Poor: My Years at the CDC illustrates the select stories from Dr. Foege’s years at the CDC, including his time as Director. The Task Force for Child Survival: Secrets of Successful Coalitions outlines the beginning years of The Task Force for Global Health and how the organization came about out of successful coalition building.

Upcoming Events 

The Alma-Ata Declaration at 40: Words into Action
September 12, Online
Our #AlmaAta40 team is gearing up for the big day. We would be thrilled for you to join us as we welcome keynote speaker, Rita Thapa to the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health on September 12th, the 40th Anniversary of the 1978 Alma-Ata Declaration. 

IAPB Council of Members Meeting
September 15-16,  Hyderabad, India
The 2018 International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) Council of Members will be held in Hyderabad and our local host will be L.V. Prasad Eye Institute who are celebrating the 20th anniversary of ICARE (International Centre for Advancement of Rural Eye Care). We are expecting 400 delegates between the 15-16 September to celebrate the progress that has been made in India and across the South East Asia Region as well as looking ahead at the challenges that eye health faces not just in the region but across the globe.

RSTMH Annual Meeting 2018
September 19-20,  London, UK
The theme of [The Royal Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, or] RSTMH’s 2018 two-day Annual Meeting is intersections of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) with non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and the Sustainable Development Goals. We will bring together voices from different sectors, locations and disease areas to showcase the lesser-known problems caused by intersections, and their impact.

First International Podoconiosis Conference
September 23, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
The theme for this is ‘Research to Implementation: A Call for Global Action’. With this invitation to register, we are also calling for abstracts from all those involved in podoconiosis research and implementation. In order to stimulate high levels of participation, the conference programme will include two sessions of research presentations, one of implementation presentations, and a poster display area. Abstracts for each of these will be selected by competitive process, and prizes will be awarded for the best research and the best implementation presentations. Travel awards will be available for a limited number of selected abstracts.

Access Challenge Universal Health Forum
September 24, New York, New York
The Universal Health Forum will celebrate the drive towards Universal Health Access in Africa. There will be high-level forums on maternal health, child health and malaria, NTDs and NCDs. There will also be an exhibition hall showcasing new technology, diagnostics, and treatments, and a dinner and awards ceremony celebrating leaders from across Africa.

NNN 2018 
September 24-26, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
We are delighted to announce the dates for the 9th NNN annual conference, subject to venue availability.

10th Euro-Global Conference on Infectious Diseases
September 27-29, Rome, Italy
Theme: Advancing in science and improving care to prevent infectious diseases.

Global Citizen Festival
September 29, New York
Global Citizen's year-long campaign to end extreme poverty is honoring the legacy of Nelson Mandela in the year he would have turned 100.

International Conference on Migration Health
October 1-3, Rome, Italy
Hosted by the international Society of Travel Medicine.

Scientific Journalism Workshop
October 1-4, Kampala, Uganda
We would like to invite health/science journalists from Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe to submit their applications for a media workshop to be held on 1st – 4th October 2018 in Kampala, Uganda. All interested journalists may apply using the online application form no later than August 17, 2018.

5th Global Symposium on Health Systems Research
October 8-12,  Liverpool, United Kingdom
Theme: Advancing health systems for all in the SDG area.

World Sight Day
October 11, 2018
World Sight Day (WSD) is an annual day of awareness held on the second Thursday of October, to focus global attention on blindness and vision impairment. This year, the "Call to Action" for World Sight Day is "Eye Care Everywhere."

World Health Summit
October 14-16, Berlin, Germany
Central topics for this year's meeting will include pandemic preparedness, sustainable development goals, and access to essential medicines.

Neglected Tropical Diseases Congress: The Future Challenges
October 15-17, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
The conference includes prompt presentations, special sessions, workshops, symposium, oral talks, poster presentations and exhibitions. We expect your kind presence at the conference which will discuss the recent emerging diseases, outbreaks, categories, epidemiology, diagnosis, therapeutics etc.

Collaborations Addressing Vulnerable Populations Forum
October 16-17, Herndon, Virginia
The Collaborations Addressing Vulnerable Populations (CAVP) Forum is a platform dedicated to the steps being made across the biomedical landscape to provide healthcare solutions to populations that represent an unmet medical need. The CAVP Forum will provide attendees with the opportunity to attend sessions from five unique tracks. We will highlight how drug repurposing can alleviate development costs, discuss different ways to ensure access to safe and cost-affective drugs, examine regulatory pathways and incentives targeting rare and neglected tropical diseases, and explore public–private partnerships that support the development of new treatments for vulnerable populations.

The Roadmap to Echinococcosis Control in Peru: Review and Synthesis of the Evidence
October 16-18, Lima, Peru
The objectives of this workshop are to review the cystic echinococcosis situation in Latine American and Peru, to review state-of-the0art methodologies, and to evaluate the evidence generated by pilot projects. The workshop is being coordinated by the University of Surrey (UK) and the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos (Peru), and will have contributions from other leading researchers. We are now inviting Early Career Researchers (ECR) from the UK or Peru to apply to attend this workshop. All travel and accommodation expenses will be covered by the Research Links programme. Applications are welcome until 1 August. Successful candidates will be contacted in early August.

Introduction to Agent-Based Modeling for Infectious Diseases
October 27, New Orleans, Louisiana
ASTMH and the Institute for Disease Modeling (IDM) are partnering to offer an introductory course on using agent-based models for modeling infectious diseases. Modeling is an essential component for understanding disease dynamics and creating effective control strategies, yet it remains inaccessible to many researchers in public health.

Tropical Dermatology
October 27 - 28, New Orleans, Louisiana
This 1.5-day course offers an overview of Tropical Dermatology, an essential component of tropical medicine. The course is designed for clinicians who are already familiar with clinical tropical medicine, either from working in tropical environments or from seeing patients returning from the tropics. Saturday’s session is devoted to cutaneous leishmaniais (the latest in the rapidly changing epidemiology, diagnosis and management). Skin conditions will be reviewed from the standpoint of diagnosing and treating individual patients – and from managing skin diseases on a population basis. 

PLOS Writing Workshop
October 28, New Orleans, Louisiana
PLOS Pathogens and PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, along with the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and Vector Borne and Zoonotic Diseases, present a Writing Workshop intended to equip and support early career researchers and researchers from disease endemic regions in understanding the publication process and best practices for manuscript writing. Highlights of the sessions include: framing your research and choosing your journal, mapping out your paper, abstract writing, the mechanics of writing, and research and publication ethics. For more information, please contact Charlotte Bhaskar at

Big Data and Genomics – A Practical Workshop on Sequence Analysis in Parasitology
October 28, New Orleans, Louisiana
This practical, hands-on workshop will introduce participants to publicly available sequence analysis tools. Using parasite genome and/or RNAseq data obtained from actual field or laboratory experiments, participants will learn analytical methods and workflows used to extract meaningful biological, evolutionary and/or epidemiological insights. Through live exercises led by experts in the field, participants will learn how to retrieve data from sequence repositories, run them through preconfigured or customized workflows, and visualize and explore the data using web-based tools.

The Global Health Impact of Urbanization and Megacities – Trends, Risk Management and Research Needs
October 28, New Orleans, Louisiana
This course will explore the changing worldwide landscape and global health risks with the exponential increase in urban population growth.  Beyond vector-borne diseases, the lack of barriers between animals, vectors, the environment and water supply increases the risk of other diseases such as leptospirosis, Ebola and plague. We urgently need to be prepared for new microbial transmission pathways in the urban environment that affect human health. 

67th Annual ASTMH Meeting 
October 28 - November 1, New Orleans, Louisiana
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. 

7th Global Scabies Control Meeting
October 28, New Orleans, Louisiana
We are pleased to announce the date for the 7th Global Scabies Control meeting. The meeting will be held on Sunday 28th October in New Orleans, LA, USA. Please mark this in your diaries now! Further information and registration details will follow in coming months. 

1st International Caparica Congress on Leishmaniasis
October 29-31, Caparica, Portugal
This conference intends to gather researchers working in areas related to Leishmaniasis, from treatment to prevention. In fact, as leishmaniasis is slowly but constantly, increasing worldwide, this conference is addressed to show the latest research trends in this area. The idea is to push forward the battle against this persistent disease. 

Women Leaders in Global Health London 2018
November 8-9, London, United Kingdom
Celebrating women in global health leadership and cultivating the next generation of women leaders. 

APHA 2018 Annual Meeting and Expo
November 10-14, San Diego, California
Theme: "Creating the Healthiest Nation: Health Equity Now."  

Vector-Borne Diseases in the UK - Biennial Meeting, 2018
December 3-4, Norwich, United Kingdom
This meeting will be the fourth we have held on this topic, with previous meetings in 2012, 2014 and 2016, and like before we will bring together members of the major UK research groups who have an interest in vectors or vector-borne diseases which could be a threat to the UK; groups with wider but related areas of interest; members of key UK Government Departments and their Agencies; and representatives of European organisations with an interest in this topic. 

Women Deliver 2019 Conference 
June 3-6, 2019, Vancouver, Canada
The Women Deliver 2019 Conference – the world’s largest gathering on the health, rights, and wellbeing of women and girls – will serve as a fueling station for advocates working to achieve a more gender equal world. In the summer of 2019, over 6,000 world leaders, influencers, advocates, academics, activists, and journalists will flock to Vancouver with dreams of accelerating progress girls and women everywhere.