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Partners Assess the Importance of Data Integration for Trachoma, Sasakawa Leprosy Initiative Launched & 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. 

Accelerate’s innovative technology:  TT (trachomatous trichiasis) Tracker app.



Lymphatic filariasis

Guyana aiming to be filaria-free in 2021

Felecia Valenzuela
Department of Public Information, Guyana
The Ministry of Health will introduce its final mass drug administration (MDA) programme in February to eliminate the infectious tropical disease lymphatic filariasis/filaria. Once the programme is successful, the World Health Organization (WHO) would declare Guyana filaria-free.

Addition of Lymphatic Stimulating Self-Care Practices Reduces Acute Attacks among People Affected by . . . Lower-Limb Lymphedema

Jan Douglass et al.
Journal of Clinical Medicine
Daily lymphedema self-care resulted in meaningful benefits for all participants with a greater reduction in acute episodes among people performing lymphatic stimulation. Observations of a change in lymphedema status support earlier findings in Bangladesh and extend the demonstrated benefits of enhanced self-care to people affected by podoconiosis.


Eliminating onchocerciasis: continued political support, new tools and measures are needed to sustain progress

Ashok Moloo
World Health Organization
Another measure to sustain progress towards elimination is to improve entomological capacity. WHO is currently finalizing an entomological manual to standardize entomological surveys and to add new techniques and strategies.


Red propolis could be used to treat schistosomiasis

Science Codex
Well-known for its bactericidal and anti-fungal properties, Brazilian red propolis has now been found to act powerfully against the parasite that causes schistosomiasis, reducing the number of eggs and killing the helminths (worms).

Soil-Transmitted Helminthiasis

Determinants of soil-transmitted helminth infections among pre-school-aged children in Gamo Gofa zone, Southern Ethiopia . . .

Mekuria Asnakew Asfaw et al.
Given efforts required eliminating STH by 2030; the existing preventive chemotherapy intervention should be substantially strengthened with WASH and behavioral interventions. Thus, an urgent call for action is required to integrate context-specific interventions, particularly in rural areas.

Prevalence of Ascaris lumbricoides in contaminated faecal samples of children residing in urban areas of Lahore, Pakistan

Shahida Azhar Ali et al.
Scientific Reports
The aim of the present study was to determine the prevalence and pattern of Ascaris lumbericoides (A. lumbricoides) infection among children residing in urban areas of Lahore, to provide information on ascariasis to promote awareness and prevention programs between the participants specially on the months or season of higher prevalence. . . . The results reveal that urban areas of Lahore are susceptible to Ascaris Lubricoides infection and the highest prevalence were observed autumn on the month of September.

Prevalence and intensity of soil-transmitted helminth infections of children in sub-Saharan Africa, 2000–18: a geospatial . . .

Benn Sartorius et al.
The Lancet Global Health
Our estimates highlight the areas to target and strengthen interventions, and the areas where data gaps remain. If elimination of soil-transmitted helminths as a public health problem is to be achieved in sub-Saharan Africa by 2030, continued investment in treatment and prevention activities are essential to ensure that no areas are left behind.

Prevalence and Pattern of Intestinal Parasitic Infestations among HIV Infected Children in Lagos, Nigeria

Agatha N. David et al.
Journal of Biosciences and Medicines
This study aimed to evaluate the prevalence and pattern of parasitic infections among children living with HIV in Lagos. . . . .The prevalence of intestinal infestation was 5.9% with Ascariasis being the commonest intestinal parasitosis in our study. Malnutrition was found to be significantly associated with its occurrence.

Caenorhabditis elegans in anthelmintic research – Old model, new perspectives

Steffen R.Hahnel, Clayton M.Dilks, Iring Heisler, Erik C. Andersen, and Daniel Kulke
International Journal for Parasitology: Drugs and Drug Resistance
In the present review, we summarize certain milestones and challenges of the C. elegans model with focus on drug target identification, anthelmintic drug discovery and identification of resistance mechanisms. Furthermore, we present new perspectives and strategies on how current progress in C. elegans research will support future anthelmintic research.


How should we measure face washing in trachoma elimination programmes?

Emma Harding-Esch and Tim Jesudason
Researchers from the UK and Senegal assessed the reliability of facial cleanliness indicators used to measure a key component of the "SAFE" trachoma elimination strategy. The results presented highlights the need for further research into a reliable marker for face washing to guide trachoma and WASH campaigns.

Accelerate: the story of 2020

The Accelerate programme has reached the end of a year like no other. Through a global pandemic, we’ve innovated and adapted our trachoma work to keep on track.

Is data integration the answer to eliminating trachoma in Ethiopia?

Biruck Kebede
Ethiopia has almost half of the world’s trachoma burden, with 76.2 million people needing health interventions. Sightsavers is supporting the country’s ministry of health in its efforts to eliminate neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), including trachoma, by integrating data to deliver more effective healthcare. Biruck Kebede, who leads Sightsavers’ NTD work in Ethiopia, explains how data can help to eliminate diseases.

Prevalence and associated factors of active trachoma among children aged 1-9 years old in mass drug administration . . .

Gashaw Melkie, Muluken Azage, and Genet Gedamu
The prevalence of active trachoma was high in the study area and showed a significant variation between graduated and non-graduated districts with mass drug administration. Living in non-graduated districts, fly presence in the house, more than two children in a household, did not wash the face daily, did not use soap during face washing, presence of sleep in eyes, and dirt on the child’s face were the significant predictors of active trachoma. Therefore, the identified modifiable factors are the area of intervention to reduce the burden of active trachoma.


2.5m people at risk of contracting NTDs in Zamfara

Ibrahim G. Ahmad
P.M. News (Nigeria)
A baseline survey conducted by the Federal Ministry of Health, facilitated by the independent health experts group “Sightsavers”, has indicated that 2.5m people in Zamfara are vulnerable to contracting one or more Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs).

Sanofi renews partnership with the WHO to fight Neglected Tropical Diseases and eliminate sleeping sickness before 2030

Marion Breyer
Globe Newswire
Sanofi has signed on December 10th a renewed partnership agreement with the World Health Organization (WHO), consolidating a 20-year collaboration to fight some of the most Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) and supporting the WHO in its commitment to sustainably eliminate sleeping sickness before 2030. With this new 5-year commitment, Sanofi will provide a consistent financial support with US$ 25 million (US$ 5 million/year) dedicated to disease management, including screening of populations, disease awareness campaign, capacity building, as well as drug donation. This sustainable commitment is key to success to come to the end of NTDs.

Disability, mental health, stigma and discrimination and neglected tropical diseases

Hannah Kuper
Transactions of The Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
NTD programmes must broaden in scope to include provision of rehabilitation and linkages to mental health support and tackling stigma through demystifying NTDs. These efforts will promote the inclusion and well-being of people living with NTDs.

Mass administration of medicines in changing contexts: Acceptability, adaptability and community directed approaches . . .

Oluwatosin Adekeye et al.
PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Capturing the tacit knowledge of health implementers at varying levels of the health system, we present the current and changing context of MAM delivery in Kaduna and Ogun States and consolidate a platform of evidence to guide future programme delivery and research studies. We situate our findings within the broader NTD literature, specifically, in identifying how our findings align to existing reviews focused on factors that shape individual acceptance of MAM.

AFRO PC NTD progress report 2012-2020

This short report provides progress in the five PC-NTDs during the implementation period of the 2020 Roadmap (2012-2020) in the African Region.


Introducing the Sasakawa Leprosy (Hansen’s Disease) Initiative

Sasakawa Health Foundation
In April 2020, the WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Leprosy Elimination, The Nippon Foundation (TNF), and the Sasakawa Health Foundation (SHF) completed a two-year reorganization project to leverage knowledge, networks, and resources more effectively. Under the name Sasakawa Leprosy (Hansen’s Disease) Initiative, the WHO Goodwill Ambassador, TNF, and SHF work in a coordinated way to achieve a leprosy-free world. Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic is one of the Initiative’s first challenges. As countries divert resources from national leprosy programs in order to cope with sudden pandemic-related needs and people everywhere attempt to adjust to a “new normal,” the Initiative has launched the following activities. . .

GOTropMEd: The Society's Online Education Resource

American Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene
This digital education resource is free for all for an introductory period. As of January 1, 2021, you will need to be an ASTMH member to access it.

In the year of NTDs, RSTMH publishes special issue of Transactions on podoconiosis

The Royal Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene
RSTMH published a special issue of our journal, Transactions: “Podoconiosis – cross-disciplinary research updates in the year of NTDs”. Edited and authored by some of the leading experts in the field, this special issue touches on a broad range of topics including priorities for research and implementation, diagnosis, mental health and stigma.

Pioneering HARP Database Launches: Improves Outcomes for People Affected by Leprosy by Informing Impacts of Mutations on . . .

Sarah Hesshaus
American Leprosy Missions
American Leprosy Missions and the Blundell Group Laboratory at the University of Cambridge are proud to announce the launch of the HARP (Hansen’s disease Antimicrobial Resistance Profiles) database. This online database catalogs all possible mutations in three important drug target proteins of Mycobacterium leprae and their interactions with drugs in the multi-drug therapy (MDT) used to cure leprosy.

Hansen's Disease/Leprosy: Call for Grant Proposals FY2021

Sasakawa Health Foundation
Application Period--For projects starting in April 2021: November 13 to December 16, 2020; For projects starting in September 2021: March 17 to May 5, 2021

Call for Proposals: Global Grants Program

Bloomberg Philanthropies, Data for Health Initiative
The Global Grants Program (GGP) supports focused, results-oriented projects that improve public health data in the priority areas of the Data for Health (D4H) Initiative so that governments are equipped with the tools and systems to collect and use data effectively. Request for proposals closes at midnight (EST) on January 15, 2021.

Leprosy Research Initiative Call for Proposals: Budget Round 2022

Global Partnership for Zero Leprosy
Researchers interested to apply for funding by the LRI are invited to complete and submit a Letter of Intent (LoI), giving an outline of the intended research. The LoIs should be submitted using the LRI Grant Application portal. LoIs should be submitted by January 29th, 2021 at 23:59** (Amsterdam date and time) after which the application portal will be closed.


Report: Helping People to Help Themselves

Sasakawa Health Foundation
The COVID-19 pandemic and measures to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus are having a disproportionate impact on the most vulnerable members of society, among them persons affected by leprosy and their families. Initiatives are taking place around the world to help communities of persons affected to stay safe, receive daily necessities and have access to needed healthcare. Among these, Sasakawa Health Foundation (SHF) has been funding projects in Indonesia, Nepal and Bangladesh to provide comprehensive support through a three-pronged approach in which organizations of persons affected play a key role, supported by a trusted partner on the ground.

The role of implementation research for pandemic response

Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases
On 27 November 2020, the network of seven universities participating in TDR’s Postgraduate Training Scheme organized a panel discussion on the “Importance of implementation research for post-COVID response in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).” Perspectives from seven countries of the Global South were shared on the impact of COVID-19 on their health systems, key implementation challenges in controlling the pandemic and the possible opportunities for young implementation research practitioners to contribute to the effort.

Keeping patients safe during a global pandemic

Sightsavers and partners have challenged eye health professionals across the world to find the most effective and comfortable personal protective equipment (PPE) to use in trachoma eye examinations and operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Assessment of schistosomiasis endemicity and preventive treatment on coronavirus disease 2019 outcomes in Africa

O.T. Oyeyemi, O.A. Okunlola, and A.D. Adebayo
New Microbes and New Infections
Schistosomiasis endemicity may be associated with negative COVID-19 outcomes, and higher praziquantel treatment coverage could reduce COVID-19 active cases and improve the recovery rate.


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 

Women in Global Health USA Launch Event 
January 13, 2021
Georgia Bio

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

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