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Lymphatic Filariasis Eliminated in Yemen, Trachoma Risk Reduced by 91% & 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.  

LF eliminated in Yemen

Lymphatic Filariasis was a public health problem in #Yemen in 2000 & threatened almost 120K people since then. In 2019, it was officially announced eliminated in Yemen.


Lymphatic filariasis

The safety of double- and triple-drug community mass drug administration for lymphatic filariasis. . .

Gary J. Weil et al.
PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Recent trials have shown that a single-dose, triple-drug treatment (ivermectin with diethylcarbamazine and albendazole [IDA]) is superior to a two-drug combination (diethylcarbamazine plus albendazole [DA]) that is widely used in LF elimination programs. This study was performed to assess the safety of IDA and DA in a variety of endemic settings. . . In this study, we observed that IDA was well tolerated in LF-endemic populations. Posttreatment [adverse event, or] AE rates and severity did not differ significantly after IDA or DA treatment. Thus, results of this study suggest that IDA should be as safe as DA for use as a MDA regimen for LF elimination in areas that currently receive DA.


Potential New Diagnostic Tools for River Blindness Offer Hope

Laurie Saloman
Contagion Live
A team of investigators based out of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases’ Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases in Bethesda, Maryland, conducted a study that tested a multitude of novel proteins potentially improving blood testing for onchocerciasis. The study, which was published in The Journal of Infectious Diseases, revealed 2 new diagnostic tools that are particularly promising—assays known as OVOC10469 and OVOC3261.

Gombe distributes 7 million Mectizan drug to 10 LGAs

Premium Times (Nigeria)
The Programme Coordinator of the Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), Gombe State Primary Health Care Development Agency (GSPHCDA), Danjuma Mohammed, says the agency has distributed seven million Mectizan tablets for the treatment of Onchocerciasis, popularly called River Blindness. Mr Mohammed told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Gombe on Friday that the drugs were distributed in 2018 to 10,024 communities across the 10 out of the 11 local government areas of the state.


Evaluation of integrated interventions layered on mass drug administration for urogenital schistosomiasis elimination: a cluster

Stefanie Knopp et al.
The Lancet Global Health
Biannual MDA substantially reduced the S haematobium prevalence and infection intensity but was insufficient to interrupt transmission. Although snail control or behaviour change activities did not significantly boost the effect of MDA in our study, they might enhance interruption of transmission when tailored to focal endemicity and applied for a longer period. It is now necessary to focus on reducing prevalence in remaining hotspot areas and to introduce new methods of surveillance and public health response so that the important gains can be maintained and advanced.

Soil-Transmitted Helminthiasis

Effects of single and integrated water, sanitation, handwashing, & nutrition interventions on child soil-transmitted helminth...

Amy J. Pickering et al.
PLOS Medicine
Integration of improved water quality, sanitation, and handwashing could contribute to sustainable control strategies for Ascaris infections, particularly in similar settings with recent or ongoing deworming programs. Combining nutrition with WSH did not provide further benefits, and water treatment alone was similarly effective to integrated WSH. Our findings provide new evidence that drinking water should be given increased attention as a transmission pathway for Ascaris.


Eliminating trachoma: WHO announces sustained progress with hundreds of millions of people no longer at risk of infection

Ashok Moloo et al.
World Health Organization
The number of people at risk of trachoma – the world’s leading infectious cause of blindness – has fallen from 1.5 billion in 2002 to just over 142 million in 2019, a reduction of 91%, WHO has reported. New data presented today at the 22nd meeting of the WHO Alliance for the Global Elimination of Trachoma by 2020 (GET2020) also show that the number of people requiring surgery for trachomatous trichiasis – the late, blinding stage of trachoma – has dropped from 7.6 million in 2002 to 2.5 million in 2019, a reduction of 68%.

Radio Messages Help Communities Fight Trachoma

The Carter Center
Radio Albichir — "Good News" in the Hausa language — is a 300-watt community radio station that plays hip-hop and other popular music that listeners request by phone and online. But it does more than that: Throughout the broadcast day, the station's on-air personalities work into their breezy chatter a litany of messages about health, hygiene, and community betterment. One of those three-minute messages, developed by the Ministry of Health and the Carter Center’s Niger staff, informs people they can avoid trachoma through washing their faces frequently and keeping their environment clean to discourage flies that can spread the infectious eye disease.

40 Years On, Sudan Trachoma Worker Remains Committed

The Carter Center
Abdalla Yousif recalls how heavy the rain was in Blue Nile state, Sudan. After four hours of torrential rain, the trachoma survey team he was traveling with decided it was best to spend the night in the car. The next morning, they did what they had done so often, they tested the road with their feet, pushed their car out of the mud, and continued to the next village. Despite how difficult traveling in rural Sudan can be, Yousif feels it is his job to get to the people. “I even kind of enjoy the difficulty,” he said.


Ghana: International Medical Group Supports Serigu C'nities to Build Toilet Facilities

Samuel Akapule
The Sustainable Medical Missions (SMM), an international medical training and empowering organisation, based in the United States, has supported the Serigu communities in the Kassena-Nankana West District of the Upper East Region, to build toilet facilities. . . He explained that the mission of SMM was to train and support indigenous healthcare and faith leaders in underdeveloped communities to treat Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) and other endemic conditions affecting the poorest community members.

Ministry of Health To Commence Mass Drug Administration In The North

Fiji Sun
The Ministry of Health and Medical Services will roll out a Mass Drug Administration (MDA) Campaign in the Northern Division through the Fiji Center for Communicable Disease Control from the 1st of July to the 10th of August. This program will treat and prevent three debilitating conditions such as scabies, lymphatic filariasis and intestinal worms.

Ensuring ethical conduct of implementation research

Mahnaz Vahedi and Andreas Reis
Today, TDR and WHO launched a new training course on ethics in implementation research to ensure appropriate engagement with research subjects and relevant communities and to safeguard against any potential harm.

Guide our future – join the new Board or Advisory Group

Uniting to Combat Neglected Tropical Diseases
Following the recent review, the Uniting to Combat Neglected Tropical Diseases partnership has now launched the nomination process to secure members for our new high-profile Board and Advisory Group. From now until Friday, August 2 you will be able to put yourself forward or nominate a colleague to join one of the groups. This is a pivotal moment in the history of the partnership, which will ensure that we have the best possible governance arrangements in place as we work towards new and ambitious targets to beat neglected tropical diseases.

Deadline Approaching: Call for Proposals on Intervention Effectiveness

Neglected Tropical Diseases Support Center
The Neglected Tropical Diseases Support Center (NTD-SC) at The Task Force for Global Health is currently soliciting proposals for operational and implementation research to improve the effectiveness of interventions used in the elimination of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). Research proposed for this call will investigate and solve persistent challenges associated with the implementation of NTD programs, focusing on different elements of either mass drug administration (MDA) or morbidity management and disability prevention (MMDP).

Global Health Future Leaders Scholarship

Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine
LSTM is committed to developing the next generation of Global Leaders. This new funding, The Global Health Future Leaders Scholarship consists of 2 x fully funded postgraduate certificate places (60 credits); 2 x fully funded postgraduate diploma places (120 credits); Partial tuition fee scholarships up to a maximum of £2,500. The scholarships are funded by a number of individuals, trusts and foundations.


Scabies Means Misery. This Pill Can End It

Donald G. McNeil Jr.
The New York Times
Scabies can be controlled with a pill or two, and the protective effect lasts for years, scientists reported on Wednesday. At present, the standard remedy is a skin cream with an insecticide that does not provide long-term protection. In poor countries, pills can be distributed throughout a village, ridding whole communities of the parasite.

“It’s just a fever”: Gender based barriers to care-seeking for visceral leishmaniasis in highly endemic districts of India...

Beulah Jayakumar, Nirmala Murthy, Kingsuk Misra and Sakib Burza
PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
The insidious presentation of [visceral leishmaniasis, or] VL and the low prioritisation of women’s health need to be jointly addressed through messages that emphasise the importance of early diagnosis and treatment of disease, which is low-cost in time and money when managed in public health facilities. Clear messages that project prioritising women’s care-seeking over household work as a smart choice and the need for rallying male support are needed. Additionally, efforts to reduce missed opportunities through early case suspicion and engaging private providers to better counsel women with suspected VL could close critical gaps in the continuum of care.

Zebras offer leads to control tsetse flies – icipe Study

Capital News (Kenya)
Zebras, specifically odours found in their skin, may provide leads to boost the management of the deadly and devastating African trypanosomosis disease, which is transmitted by tsetse flies to people and livestock. These findings are reported in a study by researchers from the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe), and University of Pretoria, South Africa, published recently in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases journal.

Guinea Worm Wrap-Up #261

WHO Collaborating Center for Dracunculiasis Eradication, CDC
The Carter Center
Synopsis of Recent Developments: The Ethiopian Dracunculiasis Eradication Program reported zero infected dogs in April and May of 2019 compared to eight reported infections during the same period of 2018. Mali’s Guinea Worm Eradication Program has discovered an infected dog in the Sokoura village of Tominian district in Segou Region. The worm emerged from the tethered dog on May 7, 2019, and was contained. Chad’s Guinea Worm Eradication Program reported nine confirmed human cases of Guinea worm disease (67 percent contained) from January-April 2019. A domestic dog with an emerging Guinea worm was reported in the village of Ofenda in Namacunde municipality of Angola’s Cunene Province in early April. The dog’s infection was confirmed upon examination of the worm specimen at the CDC. The South Sudan Guinea Worm Eradication Program has not reported any cases so far in 2019.

The danger of complacency: Lost progress in vitamin A distribution

Shawn Baker
The Optimist
I met a young boy named Alou Muhammed in Dogon Doutchi. Alou was severely emaciated and had almost lost his left eye from keratomalacia — the most visible outcome of vitamin A deficiency. Alou and his mother had traveled across the border from Nigeria for treatment. The nurse at the health center told me that this was the first sign of clinical vitamin A deficiency that she had seen in years because of the country’s success in supplementation.

Upcoming Events

Basic Epidemiology with STATA (BASES) Workshop
July 2-5, Kumasi, Ghana
As part of the Skills for Excellence In Science Series (SEXISS), The Global Health and Infectious Diseases Research Group at the Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research in Tropical Medicine (KCCR), Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in collaboration with the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine (BNITM) and the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF), Germany, is offering a Continuous Professional Development (CPD)-eligible workshop: “Basic Epidemiology with STATA” (BASES). This is an intensive workshop in epidemiological thinking and data analyses for medical, pharmacy, bio-medical and advanced nursing practitioners, graduate students and scientists.

COR-NTD/ESPEN Program Managers' Meeting
July 15, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
On Monday, July 15, 2019, a focused workshop for program managers will be held before the AFRO ESPEN meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. This meeting will provide a forum for learning exchange between African program managers, researchers and partners working within PC-NTD programs. This one day workshop will solicit experiences and feedback on existing programmatic tools that have been developed through operational research; and will help to discuss relevant challenges that are impacting the provision of effective mass drug administration and how we might address them through operational research.

WHO AFRO NTD Biennial Programme Managers Meeting
July 16-18, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
We now stand at a critical turning point in our common fight for the elimination of NTDs. As the quality of life of millions of families affected by NTDs hangs in the balance, partnerships and country ownership will continue to be essential. The World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa will hold its Biennial NTD Programme Managers Meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from July 16 to July 18, 2019, at the African Union Conference Hall. This meeting will focus on both Preventive Chemotherapy and Case Management neglected tropical diseases.

World Water Week
August 25-30
World Water Week is the annual focal point for the globe’s water issues. It is organized by SIWI. In 2019, World Water Week will address the theme “Water for society – Including all”. In 2018, over 3,300 individuals and around 380 convening organizations from 135 countries participated in the Week.

Female Genital Schistosomiasis: Opportunities for Research
September 15, Liverpool, UK 
On Sunday, September 15, 2019, experts in neglected tropical diseases, HIV, gynecology, and related fields will convene for a meeting on female genital schistosomiasis (FGS). The aim of this meeting is to identify priority research questions regarding the measurement, treatment and control of FGS in order to guide the agenda of future operational research on this important, neglected gynecological disease. In addition, this one-day meeting will look at opportunities to engage with at-risk local communities, in-country gynecological services and HIV programs. 

11th European Congress on Tropical Medicine and International Health
September 16-20, Liverpool, UK 
RSTMH is hosting the 11th ECTMIH in 2019, on behalf of the Federation of European Societies for Tropical Medicine and International Health (FESTMIH), at the ACC in Liverpool, UK. Every two years, ECTMIH 2019 brings together more than 1,500 scientists and experts from across the world. The Congress provides a platform for sharing research and innovation in the field of tropical medicine and global health.

The 10th NTD NGO Network (NNN) Conference
September 17-19, Liverpool, UK 
The chosen theme for the 2019 conference is 'Our vision beyond 2020: many partners, one voice'

6th International Symposium on One Health Research
September 18-19, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
An opportunity for foreign scientists to interact closely with high-ranking Mongolian leaders who specialize in human and animal research leading to numerous research collaborations and discoveries.

Achieving UHC: A Sustainable Future for Africa
September 23, New York, NY
This UHC Conference will feature Heads of State, African Union leaders, Ministers and youth leaders from across Africa who will discuss how to best leverage high-level political leadership to achieve UHC for Africa. UHC strategies place the most vulnerable at the center of the health system, ensuring that they have access to the fundamental conditions of human health together with access to quality care in their communities. This conference will spotlight successful efforts, identify synergies within and outside the health community, and promote effective solutions to achieve a sustainable and healthy future for all. Do not miss this unique opportunity.

IAPB Council of Members 2019
October 5-6, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
With local office support from Sightsavers, IAPB is hosting the Council in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The Council will be from 7-8 October 2019, preceded by the IAPB Work Groups, Committees, and Board meetings on 5-6 October. The IAPB Council brings together world leaders in eye health and vision care to discuss issues relevant to the elimination of avoidable blindness and visual impairment globally. The meetings are also an opportunity to meet and discuss the latest in eye health with your peers.

Sustainability & Development Conference
October 11-14, Ann Arbor, MI
The conference is supported by several University of Michigan departments, as well as the journal World Development. It will cover a suite of key themes related tosustainability and development, but broadly focuses on the many global efforts to realize the SDGs and to assess the outcomes of SDG interventions.

Triangle Global Health Annual Conference
October 16, Durham, NC
Join us for the 2019 Triangle Global Health Annual Conference on October 16 in Durham, North Carolina! Our 2019 theme is One Health: Creating our Shared Future. The program sessions will include a mix of speakers, panels, workshops, and poster sessions which showcase current One Health best practices and encourage attendees and presenters to engage around key issues impacting human, animal, and environmental health across a spectrum of application areas.  

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.

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. 

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.