Sign up to receive our news roundups

Deworming and Other Efforts to Alleviate Poverty Recognized with Nobel Prize & 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.  

Nobel Prize in Economics

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2019 to Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer “for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty.”


Lymphatic filariasis

Kiribati eliminates lymphatic filariasis

World Health Organization Western Pacific
Kiribati has eliminated lymphatic filariasis as a public health problem. The Pacific island nation joins 11 other countries and areas in the World Health Organization (WHO) Western Pacific Region to have defeated the disfiguring tropical disease. WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific Dr Takeshi Kasai, WHO Chief Scientist Dr Soumya Swaminathan and Chair of the seventieth session of the WHO Regional Committee for the Western Pacific Dr Park Neunghoo, Minister of Health and Welfare of the Republic of Korea, today presented a plaque and certificate to Kiribati Minister of Health and Medical Services Mr Tauanei Marea.

Common gout medications can kill elephantiasis-causing parasites

News Medical
Treatment with two common FDA-approved gout medications have been found to cause rapid death to the parasites that cause elephantiasis. Researchers at the Uniformed Services University (USU) have discovered that sulfinpyrazone and probenecid, both used regularly for gout, have a lethal effect in vitro on the parasitic worms that cause lymphatic filariasis.


African experts named finalists for 2019 Recognizing Excellence around Champions of Health Awards

Africa Science News
Two Ugandans, a Kenyan, a Cameroonian and a Congolese were named Monday as finalists among a group of 15 frontline health workers and innovators for 2019 Recognising Excellence around Champions of Health, REACH Awards. . . Boakye Adwini Boatin was nominated by McGill University for his work in onchocerciasis elimination in West Africa. Boakye led the WHO’s Onchocerciasis Control Programme working in remote areas and conflict zones, curing nearly one million individuals.


Clinical trial underway for new bilharzia drug

Graham Kajilwa
Standard Digital (Kenya)
A clinical trial to determine the efficacy of a new drug to treat snail fever is currently underway in the country. The trial, being overseen by the Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) is targeting children under the age of six. The trial is being carried out in Kenya and Congo where 311 children are to be dosed. Kenya will dose 160 children in Homa Bay County.

Soil-Transmitted Helminthiasis

Nobel Economics Prize Goes to Pioneers in Reducing Poverty

Jeanna Smialek
The New York Times
The winners have sought to popularize their methods. Dr. Duflo and Dr. Banerjee, who are married, in 2003 helped to found a global network of poverty researchers called the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab, or J-PAL. The coalition helps to identify effective interventions — like deworming campaigns — and then joins with governments and nongovernmental organizations to carry them out. The Nobel committee highlighted research involving Dr. Kremer that was based on an experiment with groups of Kenyan schoolchildren in the mid-1990s. It found that access to extra textbooks did not improve most student outcomes — suggesting that a simple lack of resources was not the main impediment to learning.

Reduced prevalence of soil-transmitted helminthiases worldwide: sustaining control to reap the benefits

Mathieu Bangert and Denise Mupfasoni
Worldwide, an estimated 880 million children need treatment for soil-transmitted helminthiases. A new paper shows how implementing preventive chemotherapy for more than 5 years leads to a decrease in the burden of these parasitic worm infections.


China eliminates trachoma as a public health problem

Outbreak News Today
On Monday [October 7], the World Health Organization (WHO) validated China as having eliminated trachoma as a public health problem. China began implementing mass trachoma control in the late 1940s. In 1999, WHO held a national workshop on the assessment and management of trachoma, as it was thought to still be present in some parts of the country. Subsequently, the WHO-recommended SAFE strategy (Surgery for inturned eyelashes, Antibiotics to clear infection, Facial cleanliness, and Environmental improvement to limit transmission) was successfully adopted in the remaining endemic areas. China’s rapid development also resulted in huge improvements in public health and sanitation, including in rural areas.


Angola conducts review and validation of data on Neglected Tropical Diseases

Olivio Gambo
The Angolan Ministry of Health, with technical support from WHO, carried out a data review and validation of five key Neglected Tropical Diseases. namely lymphatic filariasis (LF), onchocerciasis (Onco), schistosomiasis (SCH), geohelminthiasis or soil-borne helminths (HTS) and trachoma. The process will allow the country to identify the magnitude of neglected diseases, monitor ongoing prevention and control efforts, and determine the actions needed to achieve the control and elimination of NTDs in the country.

C'bean health ministers agree on eliminating more than 30 communicable diseases

Jamaica Observer
Ministers of health, including those from the Caribbean, agreed on a collective approach to eliminate more than 30 communicable diseases and related conditions in Latin America and the Caribbean by the year 2030. The ministers reached the agreement during the 57th Directing Council of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) taking place here this week.

States to be awarded for achieving diseases free status

Neetu Chandra Sharma
Livemint (India)
The government has approved a scheme for awarding districts, States and union territories for achieving disease free status in tuberculosis, Leprosy, Malaria, Kala-Azar, Lymphatic-Filariasis and Cataract under the National Health Mission (NHM). “This will allow certification of the districts and states as Disease Free ahead of the national certification and promote healthy competition among states and districts, similar to the Open Defecation Free (ODF) districts and states," said an official statement. As the Cabinet on Wednesday reviewed the progress under the NHM, the union health ministry apprised the cabinet about the scheme.

Unprecedented Engagement: What We’ve Learned from the Call for Small Grants

The COR-NTD and ARNTD Secretariats
In August 2019, when all partners announced the call for the third installment of small grants, we couldn’t have imagined the resulting engagement from prospective grantees. We figured maybe 150 would apply. When our website traffic tripled in the days following the announcement of the call, we thought the total number of applications may look more like 300. Imagine our surprise and delight to receive 516 applications from researchers in Africa.

VIDEO: Africa End Fund’s Joy Ruwondo on eliminating neglected tropical diseases

CNBC Africa
At the recent World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa the need to end Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) to enable Africa’s prosperity was discussed – on how to tackle this challenge, Public Advisor, Africa End Fund, Joy Ruwondo, joins CNBC Africa.


World report on vision

World Health Organization
At present at least 2.2 billion people around the world have a vision impairment, of whom at least 1 billion have a vision impairment that could have been prevented or is yet to be addressed. The world faces considerable challenges in terms of eye care, including inequalities in the coverage and quality of prevention, treatment and rehabilitation services; a shortage of trained eye care service providers; and poor integration of eye care services into health systems, among others. The World report on vision aims to address these challenges and galvanize action.

The End Of Guinea Worm Was Just Around the Corner. Not Anymore

Tim McDonnell
Next year was supposed to be the end of the line for Guinea worm. The epic, decades-long campaign against the parasite — which humans and animals can contract from drinking water and which, about a year later, emerges as a worm up to 3 feet long from painful lesions on the feet or legs — has been one of the big success stories in modern global health. In the 1980s, more than 3 million people in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia contracted Guinea worm annually. Last year, that number was down to 28. . . But that goal moved further out of reach this week, when the World Health Organization quietly revealed that it has moved its expected Guinea worm eradication date, which had been 2020, ahead a decade, to 2030. The change was first reported in Nature.

Leprosy patients at risk as 'heaviest monsoon in 25 years' brings deadly floods to Indi

Ben Farmer
The Telegraph
India has this year had its heaviest monsoon in 25 years and more than 1,600 people have died since June. Bihar and Uttar Pradesh have been particularly badly hit in recent days, with at least 55 reported dead in Bihar alone. The crisis means health workers are struggling to reach leprosy patients and those with lymphatic filariasis, a worm infection of the lymph system that can cause elephantiasis, the UK-based international charity Lepra said.

Swaziland: United Against Rabies in the Kingdom of Eswatini

All Africa
The Kingdom of Eswatini is one of the countries working towards zero human deaths from dog-mediated rabies by 2030. This is the vision of the Global Framework for the Elimination of dog-mediated human rabies. By implementing the framework Eswatini will move a step closer to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3.3, "By 2030, end the epidemics of neglected tropical diseases", and make progress towards meeting SDG 3.8 on achieving universal health coverage.

At the recent World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa the need to end Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) to enable Africa’s prosper

Maha Barakat
Without enough frontline health workers, the world will not be able to fulfill the target of ending malaria, tuberculosis and neglected tropical diseases by 2030—part of United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3. The 2018 commitment by 53 leaders of the Commonwealth countries to halve the malaria burden by 2023 will also remain out of reach. In fact, by crippling primary health-care systems, a shortage of frontline health workers could reverse past progress, particularly in poor and marginalized communities.

Examining Inequality: How Geography and Gender Stack the Deck for (or against) You

Bill and Melinda Gates
For the past 20 years, we’ve invested in health and development in low-income countries, because the worst inequality we’ve ever seen is children dying from easily preventable causes. In the United States, we’ve invested primarily in education, because a good school is a key to success, but you’re less likely to have access to one if you’re low-income, a student of color, or both. Goalkeepers is our annual report card on the world’s progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), 17 ambitious goals the member states of the United Nations committed to reaching by 2030. As we write, billions of people are projected to miss the targets that we all agreed represent a decent life. If we hope to accelerate progress, we must address the inequality that separates the lucky from the unlucky.

IncoNTD Abstract Submission Deadline Extended

We have received great abstracts so far! However, due to multiple gentle requests, the organizers of the 1st International Conference on NTD in Africa have extended the abstract submission deadline to October 23 at 11:59 PM GMT to accommodate all who missed the initial submission deadline.

Upcoming Events 

Canadian Conference on Global Health
October 17 - 19, Ottawa, Canada
The 25th Canadian Conference on Global Health (CCGH) will examine the theme of governance for global health, acknowledging the importance of accountability and the influence of power and politics on health. Societies thrive when investments and public policies seek to improve health, and its determinants.

World Health Summit
October 27 - 29, Berlin, Germany
Since it was launched in 2009, the World Health Summit has brought together stakeholders and decision-makers from every field in the healthcare spectrum, providing the perfect forum for exchange with experts from academia, industry, politics and civil society.

Minutes to Die Documentary Screening
October 29, Washington, DC
On behalf of the Embassy of Costa Rica and the Lillian Lincoln Foundation, please join us for a screening of Minutes to Die, a documentary chronicling one of the most historically ignored global health emergencies. A discussion with Ambassador Llorca and Dr. David Williams of the World Health Organization chronicling their involvement in elevating snakebite envenoming over the past three years will follow. A wine reception with hors d'oeuvres rounds out the evening.

The Global FETP Enterprise: Applied Epidemiology in the 21st Century
October 28 - November 1, Atlanta, GA
The 10th TEPHINET Global Scientific Conference (with the theme, "The Global FETP Enterprise: Applied Epidemiology in the 21st Century") is a can’t-miss event that will give attendees an opportunity to engage with key players at the forefront of these various efforts, as we work together to shape our way forward.

APHA 2019
November 2-6, Philadelphia, PA
APHA's Annual Meeting and Expo is the largest and most influential annual gathering of public health professionals. Nearly 13,000 attendees join us each year to present, learn and find inspiration. 

Global Health: Translating Theory into Action
November 8-9, Lund, Sweden
An annual event, the SNIH conference is an opportunity for students to network and learn about the myriad of ways that a public health career can manifest itself. In 2019, the SNIH conference will be held on November 8th-9th at Lund University. 

Women Leaders in Global Health Conference
November 9-10, Kigali, Rwanda
The annual Women Leaders in Global Health (WLGH) Conference provides a forum for established and emerging leaders from across the global health community to meet and work together to advance gender equity in health leadership, and to improve health for all. The vision for the conference is for women around the world to find their voices, receive leadership training, and gain a sense of community and inspiration.

2019 Place & Health Conference
November 14-15, Atlanta, GA
The 2019 Place & Health Conference will take place on November 14-15, 2019 at the CDC Global Communications Center, Roybal Campus. The 2019 Place & Health Conference is a free event and is open to CDC/ATSDR employees and contractors, academic and government partners, public health and GIS professionals, and students. This year’s theme is Vulnerable Populations, although we are accepting abstracts on other GIS topics of interest. Through the application of geospatial technology and methods we can increase our understanding of the locations where disasters or disease occurrence may have a disproportionate effect on the health of the population. This knowledge can be used to enhance health promotion, disease prevention, and emergency preparedness activities which are the essence of public health.

ASTMH 68th Annual Meeting
November 20-24, National Harbor, Maryland
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. 

Epidemics7: International Conference on Infectious Disease Dynamics
December 3-6, Charleston, SC
Join us for the Seventh International Conference on Infectious Disease Dynamics to share another three days of intense dialogue on our ideas, data, insight, models and methods. This conference regularly attracts over 400 scientists, with representatives from many of the major research groups in this area worldwide. If you want to meet many of your peers in this field, this is the place to go. 

International Conference on NTDs in Africa (IncoNTD)
December 4-6, Nairobi, Kenya
The 1st  International Conference on NTDs (IncoNTD) in Africa seeks to bring together national and international stakeholders involved in the control and elimination of NTDs. IncoNTD is jointly organized by the African Research Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases (ARNTD), the Kenya Ministry of Health (MoH), and the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI), and will be held at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Nairobi, Kenya from December 4 – 6, 2019. 

CHOGM 2020
June 2020, Kigali, Rwanda
The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) is a pivotal agenda-setting and decision-making space for the diverse community of 53 Commonwealth countries. With varying economic statuses and vast oceans between them, our leaders meet every two years to explore how they can pool their resources and innovations to transform joint challenges into exciting opportunities. In June 2020, Rwanda will host the meeting. Connected by similar traditions, language, governance and legal structures, presidents, prime ministers and monarchs, from Africa, the Caribbean and Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific, will travel to Kigali to reaffirm their common values and agree actions and policies to improve the lives of all their citizens.

11th IAPB General Assembly
October 12-14, 2020, Singapore
The General Assembly will mark the end of the VISION 2020: The Right to Sight period. It will present a great opportunity to take stock, celebrate successes and make plans for the future. A key focus will be on the WHO’s World Report on Vision and its framework for the future. The event will have three co-chairs leading on three streams: “Excellence”, “Eye Health in the West Pacific” and “Sustainability”. 

Expo 2020 Dubai: Global Best Practice Programme
October 20 2020 - April 10, 2021
Expo 2020 Dubai’s platform to showcase projects that have provided tangible solutions to the world’s biggest challenges. It will highlight simple but effective initiatives, which localise the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and can be adapted, replicated, and scaled to achieve an enhanced global impact.