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Act to End NTDs | East Issues Practical Guidance for LF Surveys in the Context of COVID-19 & Other NTD News& Other NTD News

News roundup

Lymphatic filariasis

Practical Approaches to Implementing WHO Guidance for Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD) Programs in the Context of COVID-19 . . .

USAID, Act to End NTDs | East , and Act to End NTDs | West
NTD Toolbox
Pre-transmission assessment surveys (pre-TAS) and transmission assessment surveys (TAS) are key surveys of lymphatic filariasis (LF) treatment programs, used to monitor progress, decide when to stop treatment and to inform declaration of interruption of transmission. During this unprecedented time of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), national program staff and implementing agencies must make adjustments to ensure safe programming. This resource document complements the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) guidance for NTD programs released on July 27, 2020. It provides ideas and practical examples on operationalizing the guidance so that it can be applied to field activities. It is designed as a resource that national NTD programs can use as they develop their own country-specific standard operating procedures (SOPs), training materials, and supervision checklists. It should be adapted to country-specific contexts and environments.

Training Program Success with Ghana Health Services Leads to Nationwide Access to Quality Care for People Affected by LF

Sarah Hesshaus
Neglected Tropical Diseases Support Center
he South Carolina-based global health organization, American Leprosy Missions, in partnership with Ghana Health Services, has successfully designed, implemented and evaluated a new, cascaded training program for lymphatic filariasis in northern Ghana which has led to significant improvement in morbidity management practices among health workers and people affected. . . . Based on the success of this project, the NTD Program will scale up this enhanced, evidence-based training program throughout the remaining 72 districts in Ghana where LF is widespread, improving care and reducing stigma.

Onchocerciasis

Cameroon Woman Uses Cellphone To Tackle River Blindness

Cameroon Report
Here, she is looking to find members of the nomadic Massangam community — small groups of the wider Massangam people, whose geographic locations are not recorded. Atekem uses satellite technology to find clusters of huts, which she presumes to be nomadic camps. The 30-year-old health advocate is leading a research project that uses alternative treatments to accelerate the elimination of onchocerciasis, a neglected tropical disease (NTD) also known as river blindness. Atekem spends the day at the nomad camp, screening individuals for river blindness, and providing treatment to those who have it.

Schistosomiasis

A systematic review and meta-analysis on the rate of human schistosomiasis reinfection

Abdallah Zacharia, Vivian Mushi, and Twilumba Makene
PLOS ONE
This systematic review and meta-analysis aimed at summarizing studies that estimated the reinfection rate of human schistosomiasis. . . Despite the control measures in place, the re-infection rate is still high, specifically on intestinal schistosomiasis as compared to urogenital schistosomiasis. Achieving 2030 sustainable development goal 3 on good health and wellbeing intensive programmatic strategies for schistosomiasis elimination should be implemented. Among such strategies to be used at national level are repeated mass drug administration at least every six months, intensive snails control and health education.

Influence of human–surface water interactions on the transmission of urinary schistosomiasis in the Lower Densu River basin . .

Joshua Ntajal, Mariele Evers, Thomas Kistemann, and Timo Falkenberg
Social Science & Medicine
Highlights: Male children have higher exposure to urinary schistosomiasis than females. Children of 13 years and above have higher odds of urinay schistosomiasis. Recreational, domestic and occupational water-contacts have higher odds ratios. More frequent and longer water-contacts contributed to high odds of blood in urine.

Schistosoma transmission in a dynamic seasonal environment and its impact on the effectiveness of disease control

Qimin Huang, David Gurarie, Martial Ndeffo-Mbah, Emily Li, and Charles H King
The Journal of Infectious Diseases
We found models that used seasonal averaging could grossly overestimate infection burden and underestimate control outcomes in highly seasonal environments. We showed that proper intra-seasonal timing of control measures could make marked improvement on the long-term burden reduction for Schistosoma transmission control, and we identified the optimal timing for each intervention. Seasonal snail control, implemented alone, was less effective than mass drug administration, but could provide additive impact in reaching control and elimination targets.

What are the best treatment options for schistosomiasis? Case study from Niger

Anna Phillips
BugBitten
This study reviewed which treatment strategy provided the greatest reduction of schistosomiasis over five years comparing SBT once a year, SBT twice a year and SBT using test & treat (no MDA), CWT once a year and CTW twice a year (see figure). This resulted in five major findings. . . .

Chlorination provides an option for controlling cercariae

Christina Faust
BugBitten
A recent lab and field-based study investigated the amount and duration of chlorine needed to inactivate schistosome cercariae and prevent transmission.

Soil-Transmitted Helminthiasis

Hotspots and correlates of soil-transmitted helminth infections in a Venezuelan rural community: which are the “wormy” houses?

Renzo Nino Incani, María Eugenia Grillet, and Lapo Mughini-Gras
Journal of Infection
STH distribution in a community is clustered, with significant hotspots of STH occurrence and intensity of infection and different associated risk factors. Targeting the “wormy” houses is expected to affect STH morbidity more efficiently.

Prevalence and Intensity of Intestinal Helminth Infections in Preschool Pupils in Lugari Subcounty, Kakamega County, Kenya

Daniel Kevin Werunga, Elizabeth Nanjala Omukunda, and Jackson Cheruiyot Korir
Journal of Parasitology Research
Although this study revealed a low prevalence and light intensity, some factors had significant effects on intestinal helminth infections among the preschool children.

Challenges and opportunities for the adoption of molecular diagnostics for anthelmintic resistance

Andrew C. Kotze, John S. Gilleard, Stephen R. Doyle, and Roger K. Prichard
International Journal for Parasitology: Drugs and Drug Resistance
Highlights: Management of anthelmintic resistance requires reliable, sensitive and cost-effective diagnostic methods. Molecular anthelmintic resistance tests have a number of advantages over currently-used phenotypic tests. However, there are a number of challenges impacting on the use of molecular tests in the field. There are also clear opportunities for proof-of-concept use of molecular tests in the short term.

CSOs: 50 percent of children in FCT infected with intestinal worms

Frank Ikpefan
The Nation Online
A coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), has said that over 50 percent of children across the six area councils in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), are infected with schistosomiasis, a disease caused by parasitic worms also known as intestinal worms. . . . Technical Specialist on Non Tropical Diseases for the Christian Blind Missionary (CBM) Nigeria country office, Joseph Kumbur, said that a free deworming exercise has been scheduled to run this month to prevent and cure children and adults from the disease.

Trachoma

Trachoma in Words

Sightsavers
The powerful words in our short film describe what it feels like to have trachoma. It’s a devastating eye disease but is entirely preventable, and we can eliminate it for good.

Surveys for advanced trachoma resume in Burkina Faso

Sightsavers
More than 20,000 people in Burkina Faso are to be screened for advanced trachoma, in the first surveys since NTD programmes were put on hold because of COVID-19. The surveys are part of the Tropical Data initiative, which supports health ministries to carry out surveys for advanced trachoma, known as trichiasis. The surveys help to pinpoint where to run trachoma elimination programmes, and where programmes are no longer needed.

Cross-cutting

The Indigenous eye-care gap is closing, but not fast enough

Hugh Taylor AC, Emma Stanford, Karl Hampton, and Mitchell D Anjou
Insight Plus
Many of the disadvantages that cause poor eye health outcomes remain, and the COVID-19 global pandemic presented additional challenges. This means that to reach our goals we need more health partnerships, improved housing and environmental health in affected communities. But there’s also a plus side. COVID-19 led to a shift in the provision of soap, washing facilities and cleaning in schools and communities – all important in maintaining eye health – which was helped further by community ownership with local leaders. However, we still have a long way to go.

Universal Health Coverage Day 2020

WHO Regional Director for Africa
World Health Organization
On 12 December, the international community celebrates Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Day because everyone should be able to get the health services they need, without suffering financial hardship.

Other

Has the prevalence of Chagas disease increased in Central Latin America?

Kota Yoshioka, Ken Hashimoto, and Carlota Monroy
PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
In this article, we show that the GBD 2017 can tell a different story about Chagas disease in CLA. . . .This declining trend can be interpreted as showing a promising story about progress in Chagas disease control.

DKK 25 M to develop recombinant snakebite antivenom

Mirage
For the next five years, Andreas and his team will be putting the Wellcome grant to use by developing broadly-neutralizing panels of human antibodies and nanobodies against the key toxins from all of the medically most important snake species of sub-Saharan Africa. By neutralizing these key toxins, the main clinical manifestations in human envenoming cases can be avoided. The researchers hope that at the end of the project to be ready to enter into clinical development.

Call for Proposals

Leprosy Research Initiative
The Leprosy Research Initiative (LRI) is pleased to announce a call for proposals for funding commencing in 2022. LRI funds research with a focus on leprosy – including research applications combining leprosy with other neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) or other diseases that share cross-cutting issues with leprosy.

COVID-19

Undeterred by COVID-19: A collaborative approach to successfully treating neglected tropical diseases in Madagascar

Lovasoa Randriatahina, MoH Madagascar
Schistosomiasis Control Initiative Foundation
In the second half of this year, SCI Foundation supported the Ministry of Health in Madagascar to conduct its annual treatment campaign for people affected by Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs). This year, for the first time, the country adopted an integrated approach to mass drug administration (MDA) in its fight against NTDs. As many of the NTDs are tackled using similar community mechanisms an integrated MDA consists of delivering multiple drugs to treat different diseases simultaneously. Lovasoa Randriatahina (photo left) Programme Advisor for the Schistosomiasis National Control Programme from the Ministry of Health, explains how it was possible.

UPCOMING EVENTS

NOTE - Events may be postponed or cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please check with event organizers to confirm events.

FREE ONLINE COURSE: Improving the Health of Women, Children and Adolescents: from Evidence to Action.
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

The leadership needed to stimulate the battle against NTDs
TBD Webinar
Webinar of the World Health Organization

Global Health Alliance Policy Webinar: The Future of Global Health
December 17, 2020, Webinar
Global Health Alliance, Georgia and Bay Area

Health Technologies for Neglected Tropical Diseases: Accelerating Research & Development for Impact 
December 17, 2020, Webinar
International Society for Neglected Tropical Diseases

Women in Global Health Georgia USA Launch Event
January 13, 2021 
Global Health Alliance, Georgia and Bay Area

Noma-a disease that shouldn't exist anymore 
February 11, 2021 Webinar
International Society for Neglected Tropical Diseases