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Global Partners Commemorate the 5th Anniversary of the London Declaration & 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.

Mission Possible Interactive

Mission Possible: Why the world needs to unite against 10 terrible diseases


Lymphatic filariasis

Rare elephantiasis disease victim looking for treatment

Zulfiqar Kunbhar
Daily Times
Muhammad Ishaq, resident of Karachi's Rehri Goth, is facing miserable time due to elephantiasis disease for last nine years. In 2007, Ishaq, 39 years old, was asleep when some insect bit his left leg. "When he got up, he felt severe pain in his leg."


An appraisal of the neglected tropical diseases control program in Cameroon: the case of the national program against oncho

Tsi Njim and Leopold Ndemnge Aminde
BMC Public Health
Onchocerciasis is still a neglected tropical disease (NTD) in Cameroon and urgently demands a need for intensification and probably modification of some strategies in the current onchocerciasis elimination program. Control of the disease will contribute to achievement of the corresponding Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) quota.

Korean doctor to fight off endemics in East Timor

Yi Whan-woo
The Korea Times
Song Jin-su, a doctor specialized in infectious diseases, has been named to lead a joint project run by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) to fight tropical diseases in East Timor, according to KOICA, Wednesday. KOICA, a development aid organization under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said Song, 40, will be tasked with curbing the two most prevalent endemics in East Timor — onchocerciasis and yaws.


The road towards sustainable control of schistosomiasis in the Democratic Republic of Congo...

Sylvie Linsuke et al.
Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine
Structured interviews were performed using questionnaires with staff from 35 healthcare facilities in 9 health zones (HZ) of Kinshasa and 2 HZ in Bas-Congo...Though knowledge on schistosomiasis among health staff appears sufficient, substantial efforts still must be made to improve the availability of diagnostic tools and treatment in the health facilities in DRC.

Impedimetric nanostructured genosensor for detection of schistosomiasis in cerebrospinal fluid and serum samples

Giselle S. Santos et al.
Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis
In this work, we performed an electrochemical detection of Schistosoma mansoni DNA with a self-assembled monolayer of mercaptobenzoic acid (MBA) immobilizing nanostructures composed of gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) and magnetite nanoparticles (Fe3O4_NPs)...The developed platform showed a DNA detection limit of 0.781 and 0.685 pg μL−1 for serum and CFS, respectively. Therefore, the obtained biosensor can be considered as a useful tool for specific detection of S. mansoni at low concentrations in various biological fluids.

Investing in the Next Generation

The Carter Center
Thirteen-year-old Jude Musa from Gidan Gimba village in Nasarawa State, Nigeria, goes to school, plays soccer, and hopes one day to become a soldier or drummer. Three years ago, however, Jude noticed symptoms of schistosomiasis, or "snail fever," a waterborne parasitic infection that damages internal organs and commonly affects school-aged children, who come into contact with the disease during their daily chores or at play in activities involving fresh water.

Schistosomiasis on the Shores of Lake Albert through the prism of tropical medicine students

Study Team
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
The Professional Diploma in Tropical Medicine & Hygiene (East African Partnership) is a three-month course taught by the School and colleagues in Tanzania and Uganda, for doctors planning to work in Africa. In this blog, students from the 2016 course describe their experiences studying the burden and treatment of Schistosomiasis in a community in Uganda.

Soil-Transmitted Helminthiasis

Gender-based differences in water, sanitation and hygiene-related diarrheal disease and helminthic infections...

Varadan Sevilimedu et al.
Transactions of the Royal Sociaety of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene
Evidence of gender differences in infection may reflect differences in gender norms, suggesting that policy changes at the regional level may help ameliorate gender related disparities in helminthic and diarrheal disease prevalence.

The molecular speciation of soil-transmitted helminth eggs collected from school children across six endemic countries

Santosh George et al.
Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene
We speciated 207 STH egg isolates from stool collected during the baseline survey of six drug efficacy trials conducted in Brazil, Cambodia, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Vietnam applying a PCR – restriction fragment length polymorphisms based approach...Our study indicates that STH infections in humans are predominantly caused by human STH species. They also suggest that zoonotic transmission occurs on a local scale.

Prevalence and risk factors of undernutrition among schoolchildren in the Plateau Central and Centre-Ouest regions...

Séverine Erismann et al.
Infectious Diseases of Poverty
We found high prevalence of undernutrition among the children surveyed in the two study regions of Burkina Faso. We further observed that undernutrition, anaemia and parasitic infections were strongly associated. In view of these findings, concerted efforts are needed to address undernutrition and associated risk factors among school-aged children.


Defining Seropositivity Thresholds for Use in Trachoma Elimination Studies

Stephanie J. Migchelsen et al.
PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Internally calibrated approaches to threshold specification are reproducible and consistent and thus have advantages over methods that require external calibrators. We propose that future serological analyses in trachoma use a finite mixture model or expectation-maximisation algorithm as a means of setting the threshold for ELISA data. This will facilitate standardisation and harmonisation between studies and eliminate the need to establish and maintain a global calibration standard.

Conrad Hilton funding helps bring Mali closer to eliminating trachoma

The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation has boosted its commitment to tackling neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) with new grants to help wipe out trachoma in Mali and Niger. The funding was announced during the World Economic Forum annual summit, which took place in January in Davos, Switzerland. Sightsavers, which has been working to combat trachoma in Mali for 12 years, is to receive a grant of $650,000 to help eliminate trachoma in the Koulikoro region of Mali over the next three years.

Ending Suffering from Trachoma, One Surgery at a Time

John Uniack Davis
Helen Keller International
Through a national program that combines mass treatment with the antibiotic azithromycin and surgery for individuals with trichiasis, Burkina Faso has dramatically lowered trachoma prevalence and is well on its way to meeting WHO criteria for elimination. In the process, the country’s health system is growing stronger, with a newly trained cadre of health professionals prepared to provide high-quality, sight-preserving surgery for emerging trichiasis cases — and move the country and the world one step closer to ending the age-old scourge of trachoma.


The Untold Story: Beating 10 Diseases, Improving 1 Billion Lives

Uniting to Combat Neglected Tropical Diseases
2017 marks the 5th anniversary year of the momentous occasion when diverse organisations and global partners came together to improve the lives of over 1 billion people on the planet. On 30 January 2012, pharmaceutical companies, donors, endemic countries and non-government organisations came together to sign the London Declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases. Together, they commited to control, eliminate or eradicate 10 diseases by 2020.

The London Declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases: 5 years on

David H. Molyneux
Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene
The NTD community must continue to advocate for greater recognition of the problem by endemic countries and bilateral donors, emphasising the impact of NTDs on the lives of the poor as much as specific disease entities that can be alleviated or even eliminated but rather as problems of development that have major economic impacts in poor communities. NTD interventions are highly cost effective interventions with programmes reaching circa one billion people per year. This is an unheralded public health success, a major contribution to poverty alleviation and the best public health buy available.

Neglected tropical diseases are finally getting the attention they deserve

Sue Desmond-Hellmann
When you work in global health, you get to witness some of humankind’s greatest achievements. Together, the world has cut child deaths by more than half since 1990, we’re on the brink of eradicating polio, and we’re reaching more people than ever with lifesaving vaccines. Yet one of the most inspiring success stories is perhaps the one most overlooked: the global effort to eliminate neglected tropical diseases, or NTDs.

Will war on neglected diseases hit target?

Andrew Jack
Financial Times
“It was a total game changer five years ago,” says Dirk Engels, director of the department of control of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) at the World Health Organisation. He cites the combination of an NTD “road map with clear goals and deadlines, and the London declaration that rallied all the different multiple diverse partnerships around a single perspective”.

Tackling NTDs — Our Commitment To Effective Philanthropy

HRH Princess Lamia bin Majed AlSaud
The Huffington Post
More than ever before, there is a focus not just on doing good but on achieving the best possible results. Compassion is not enough. It has to be targeted effectively based on hard evidence...The ambition of its goals, the coalitions it has built and its impact makes the END Fund a great partner for Alwaleed Philanthropies. Over the next three years, we have committed to providing $3 million to accelerate the progress that is being made in lifting the shadow of NTDs from families and communities.

WATCH: President Carter Shares One Of His ‘Most Gratifying Moments’

Sarah Ruiz-Grossman and Jo Confino
The Huffington Post
Former President Jimmy Carter has dedicated the past three decades of his life to fighting diseases in poor countries ― and he’s not stopping anytime soon. In a recent interview with The Huffington Post, Carter explained the importance of working with diseases that affect some of the most vulnerable groups of people around the globe but that generally don’t get a ton of international attention.

Welby joins round-table talks on neglected tropical diseases

Tim Wyatt
Church Times
The Archbishop of Canterbury has taken part in discussions on plans to eliminate often-ignored tropical diseases which affect countries across Africa, Asia, and the Americas. At a private event in Davos, Switzerland, during the World Economic Forum, Archbishop Welby joined business leaders and philanthropists, including Bill Gates, to discuss how best to eradicate neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).


Integrated Mapping of Yaws and Trachoma in the Five Northern-Most Provinces of Vanuatu

Fasihah Taleo et al.
PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
We conducted an integrated trachoma and yaws prevalence survey in establish the prevalence of both diseases in the 5 northern-most provinces of Vanuatu...Given the apparent low burden of yaws, integration of yaws and trachoma control programmes is likely to be useful and cost-effective to national programmes.

Integrated Control and Management of Neglected Tropical Skin Diseases

Oriol Mitjà et al.
PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Several NTDs exhibit significant cutaneous manifestations that are associated with longterm disfigurement and disability...Skin examination offers an opportunity to screen people in the communities or children in schools to identify multiple conditions in a single visit. This common approach to skin diseases justifies the integrated delivery

Leprosy Bacterium Virtually Identical Now to Middle Ages Epidemic

Daryl Worthington
New Historian
A multidisciplinary team investigated the strain of leprosy found in a leprosy hospital cemetery in Winchester, UK. Extensive tests were performed on a skeleton excavated from the cemetery...The strain of M.leprae sampled from the skeleton was found to belong to the 2F lineage, a strain which today is associated with leprosy cases in South-Central and Western Asia. Although most of the M.leprae strains found at the Winchester cemetery fall into the 2F lineage, the sample presented in the paper was genetically distinct from these isolates.

African trees kill both malaria mosquitoes and the parasite

Bjarne Røsjø
Medical Xpress
"This project started in 2011, when we were approached by the entomologist Bertin Mikolo fra Marien Ngouabi University in the Republic of Congo's capital Brazzaville. He had learned that local traditional healers were using extracts from the bark of a tropical tree to kill malaria mosquitoes and other insects, and he had demonstrated that the extracts could kill weevils and cockroaches..."The Master student Nastaran Moussavi managed to isolate pellitorine and several other substances in extracts from the bark of the Olon tree. Later, she travelled to the French research institute IRD in Montpellier, in order to study their insecticidal effects. IRD has experts in cultivating the malaria mosquito Anopheles gambiae for scientific studies. Moussavi applied substances from the bark of the Olon tree to the neck of the mosquitoes, in order to investigate if the substances had toxic effects," Wangensteen explains. "This caused the mosquitos to die, literally as flies! The experiments showed that pellitorine is toxic to mosquitoes," Malterud adds.

'People's Science' - How West African Communities Fought the Ebola Epidemic and Won

Elizabeth Blunt
One of the curious aspects of the epidemic, which shook Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, was the way in which the number of cases started dropping before the main international response was in place. In one area after another, the infection arrived, spread rapidly, and then - apparently spontaneously - began to decline. Paul Richards, a veteran British anthropologist, now teaching at Njala University in Sierra Leone, has been worrying away at this phenomenon. He is convinced the main driver of the reduction was what he calls "People's Science"; the fact that people in the affected areas used their experience and common sense to figure out what was happening, and began to change their behaviour accordingly.

World Still ‘Grossly Underprepared’ For Outbreaks, Warn Experts

Livia Rusu
Tech Times
The world is still "grossly underprepared" for infectious disease outbreaks, which are likely to occur more frequently in the following decades, according to an international team of experts. The reviewed reports on recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa showed that being better prepared and responding in a more coordinated manner could have prevented 11,000 deaths due to Ebola.

World Health Organization names nominees to lead global agency

Helen Branswell
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, 51, of Ethiopia, Dr. Sania Nishtar, 53, of Pakistan, and Dr. David Nabarro, 67, of Britain were selected as finalists in the competition to replace Dr. Margaret Chan, whose second term of office ends June 30. Their voting tallies were in that order, sources told STAT.


Bexar county woman confirmed with Zika infection

Katie Grovatt
The first Texas laboratory confirmed case of the Zika infection in a pregnant resident who did not travel outside the state was identified Tuesday according to the Texas Department of State Health services...DSHS says the infection could have been transmitted by mosquitoes or through sexual contact with a partner who was infected.

Context-Specific SBCC Framework Stops Spread During Zika Response

Ann Kott
Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs
This field of strategic communication, called social and behavior change communication (or SBCC), provides people with the information they need during an emergency, while using evidence-based approaches to inspire the adoption of preventive and healthy behaviors. Within weeks of Zika’s declaration as a global emergency, USAID had SBCC experts from CCP’s Health Communication Capacity Collaborative (HC3) project on the ground in Central America. These experts studied how SBCC was being used in local response efforts in Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. This assessment, summarized in the SBCC Landscaping Report, recommended strategies to meet Zika-related communication needs in all four countries.

Mt. Pleasant High students earn $5,000 to pursue project aimed at Zika virus

Mike Christen
The Daily Herald
The students of Mt. Pleasant High School's mechatronics program received a $5,000 check this week to continue their work in developing an automatized method of combating the Zika virus...The grant will help fund the next step in the program's multi-disciplinary project of developing an amphibious drone to help detect the presence of the Zika virus in stagnant bodies of water.

Zika Virus

This collection reviews our current understanding of Zika biology, and offers insight into mechanisms of pathogenesis, sequelae, and transmission. The articles in this freely available Articles Selection, set a foundation for the work needed to meet the higher risk now posed by this virus.

Upcoming Events

London Declaration Anniversary Event: What's Next for NTDs Research?
January 31, London, United Kingdom
Uniting to Combat Neglected Tropical Diseases
This event will showcase the latest scientific research for neglected tropical disease (NTD) control and elimination. The evening celebrates the 5th anniversary of the London Declaration on NTDs with a series of quick fire presentations and discussion from NTD experts aimed at identifying priorities for the future of NTD research. 

STH Coalition Action Group Meeting
February 2-3, London, United Kingdom
Children Without Worms

Keystone Symposia Conference
February 19-23, Kampala, Uganda
The Malaria Eradication Scientific Alliance (MESA)
This conference examines the scientific progress being made towards the goals of eliminating and eradicating malaria, from the biological challenges and discoveries, to the development of the next generation of tools, to the potentially transformative strategies to eliminate malaria. The goal of the meeting is to provide a unique and needed space for the malaria community to share emerging data and insights from the different disciplines, and challenge hypotheses.

ISNTD Festival
February 23, London, UK
The International Society for Neglected Tropical Diseases
This unique event is bringing together the creative & communications industries with the field of tropical diseases. We have a global call for some of the best content in media & communication.

Vector Borne Disease 5 Day Workshop
February 27-March 3, Bangkok, Thailand
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.

How to End a Plague: Smartphones, Science, & Partnerships
March 11, Austin, TX, USA
SXSW Interactive Festival 
During this panel discussion, experts and a representative from a country affected by blinding trachoma will explain how smartphones, science, and partnerships are being used to end the disease by 2020. They also will discuss the potential application of this approach for eliminating other diseases.

March 21, London, UK
The International Society for Neglected Tropical Diseases
Developing partnerships & strategies in vector control

Molecular Helminthology: An Integrated Approach
March 19-22, Cape Cod, MA, USA
The conference is designed not just to present the recent findings in the field of molecular helminthology but also to take advantage of the remarkable advances anticipated and occurring in the field.

World Water Day
March 22
UN Water
Each year, UN-Water — the entity that coordinates the UN’s work on water and sanitation — sets a theme for World Water Day corresponding to a current or future challenge. The engagement campaign is coordinated by one or several of the UN-Water Members with a related mandate.

Solutions for Drug-Resistant Infections  
April 3-5, Brisbane, Australia
The University of Queensland’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience Centre for Superbug Solutions
SDRI 2017 is a multi-disciplinary scientific conference for the Asia Pacific region focused on Solutions for Drug-Resistant Infections. This inaugural conference theme is New Drugs for Drug-Resistant Infections. 

Towards Elimination of Schistosomiasis in Cameroon 
March 22-23, Yaounde, Cameroon
SCH Control Program
This conference is the premier gathering in Cameroon for all stakeholders working to overcome the impact of schistosomiasis. It will bring together scientists, experts, donors, policy makers, non-governmental development organizations and students from all over the world to share and learn from each other's experiences and perspectives. The conference will provide a platform to discuss progress, challenges and strategies in shifting from a morbidity control approach to elimination of schistosomiasis. The structure of the conference consists of plenary presentations, panel-led discussions, group work and poster sessions. 

Chagas Roundtable
April 6, Washington, DC, USA
The International Society for Neglected Tropical Diseases
Register your interest to be involved at ISNTD's Chagas Roundtable in Washington D.C., Water 2017 or the ISNTD Festival.

World Health Day
April 7
World Health Organization
World Health Day, celebrated on 7 April every year to mark the anniversary of the founding of the World Health Organization, provides us with a unique opportunity to mobilize action around a specific health topic of concern to people all over the world. The theme of our 2017 World Health Day campaign is depression.

World Vaccine Congress 2017
April 10-12, Washington, DC
The 17th Annual World Vaccine Congress is the place where the global vaccine industry meets to discuss commercial and scientific issues around regulation, strategy, manufacturing, trials, partnering, influenza, cancer, emerging diseases and veterinary vaccines.

Neglected Tropical Diseases Summit
April 19-22, Geneva, Switzerland
Uniting to Combat Neglected Tropical Diseases
Join us at the NTD Summit to celebrate the 5th anniversary of the WHO NTD Roadmap and the London Declaration.

World Health Summit Regional Meeting - North America
May 8-9, Montréal, Québec, Canada
Université de Montréal + Institut de recherches Cliniques de Montréal
The world leaders in global health will be attending this prestigious event, including over 800 researchers, doctors, industry leaders, decision-makers, government members and civil society actors from around the world. Based on the theme of “Health and Healthcare Delivery in Pluralistic Societies,” this interdisciplinary event will focus on the question of human diversity in the practice, education, research and public policy pertaining to health.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.