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Schistosomiasis Goals Often Met Sooner Than Expected & 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.  

Schistosoma haemotobium egg

Parasitologic data (parasite egg counts from stool and urine samples) were collated from the Schistosomiasis Control Initiative–supported multiyear, cross-sectional sentinel-site surveys in nine countries All but one country program (Niger) reached the disease-control target by two treatment rounds or less, which is earlier than projected by current WHO guidelines (5 to 10 years).


Lymphatic filariasis

Health dept to conduct drive to control filaria

The Times of India
The health department will conduct mass drug administration programme in February to control filaria. Bareilly had reported 123 filaria cases in 2018-19. District malaria officer D R Singh said, “The mass drug administration will be done from February 17 to 29 in Bareilly as a preventive measure. Only children below 2 years of age, pregnant women and severely ill persons will be excluded in the drive. Nearly 4,000 teams have been constituted in the district and each team will cover 125 people in a day.”


LSTM’s former Loa loa expert, Dr William Crewe, celebrates his 100th birthday

Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine
LSTM’s Dr Louise Kelly-Hope said in response to Dr Crewe’s centenary: “The excellent work by Bill Crewe on the bionomics of Chrysops vectors in the 1950s provided an important springboard for my current research on Loa loa, which is focussed on defining the spatial distribution and environmental drivers of transmission hotspots and risk of severe adverse events associated with ivermectin for onchocerciasis and lymphatic filariasis elimination. I had the privilege to meet Bill in 2013 at LSTM when he joined a Loa loa scientific meeting and provided key insights into his field work. I hope he will be pleased to know that his work has helped to further work on Loa loa at LSTM with successful grant applications, many publications and conference presentations and a line-up of students eager to learn more and move research forward on this important neglected tropical disease.”


Schistosomiasis — Assessing Progress toward the 2020 and 2025 Global Goals

Arminder Deol et al.
New England Journal of Medicine
We collated and analyzed multiyear cross-sectional data from nine national schistosomiasis control programs (in eight countries in sub-Saharan Africa and in Yemen). Data were analyzed according to schistosome species (Schistosoma mansoni or S. haematobium), number of treatment rounds, overall prevalence, and prevalence of heavy-intensity infection. . . All but one country program (Niger) reached the disease-control target by two treatment rounds or less, which is earlier than projected by current WHO guidelines (5 to 10 years).

Female genital schistosomiasis: Researchers call for expansion of programs for prevention

Outbreak News Today
In a new perspective piece published today in the New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine and co-director of the Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development, and colleagues are calling for the expansion of preventive treatment programs in Africa for female genital schistosomiasis. . . “Female genital schistosomiasis is now one of the most important afflictions of African girls and women who live in extreme poverty,” said Hotez. “Yet for decades this condition has been neglected as a major threat to sexual and reproductive health. Increasingly, we must recognize the implications of female genital schistosomiasis as a devastating infectious disease affecting reproductive health in Africa.”

No more neglect — Female genital schistosomiasis and HIV

Neglected tropical diseases continue to affect people who live under dire socioeconomic conditions in the poorest parts of the world — people who the global health and development community have promised not to leave behind. Female genital schistosomiasis (FGS), is a waterborne neglected tropical disease of poverty affecting 56 million African women and girls. Yet FGS remains underreported, under- and misdiagnosed and largely untreated.

Soil-Transmitted Helminthiasis

17m children vulnerable to worm infection: survey

Imran Ayub
DAWN (Pakistan)
Health authorities have called for school-based deworming across the country as, according to an official document, around 17 million children aged between five and 15 years are at a risk of catching soil-transmitted helminth infections (STH) in 40 districts across the country. These infections are caused by intestinal worms.


Tracking and eliminating disease with smartphones

Virgin Unite
A pioneering project called Tropical Data uses mobile phone technology to conduct surveys about the infectious eye disease all over the world, even in conflict-stricken countries like Yemen. Trachoma is a painful but preventable eye infection that begins a bit like conjunctivitis but can cause blindness if left untreated. A global partnership of governments, communities and international organisations (including Sightsavers) are working to eliminate the disease around the world. With the help of Tropical Data, we hope to achieve this in the countries we work by 2025.

World Braille Day puts spotlight on 2.2 billion people with vision impairment

Jamaica Observer
It is estimated that approximately 2.2 billion people around the world have a vision impairment or blindness, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), a billion of whom have either not had their condition addressed, or whose impairment could have been prevented. This one billion includes those with moderate or severe distance vision impairment or blindness due to unaddressed refractive error (123.7 million), cataract (65.2 million), glaucoma (6.9 million), corneal opacities (4.2 million), diabetic retinopathy (3 million), and trachoma (2 million), as well as near vision impairment caused by unaddressed presbyopia (826 million).


The Role of Gender in Seeking Care for Neglected Tropical Diseases

Saskia Popescu
Contagion Live
Gender plays a pivotal role in the prevalence, transmission, and exposure to diseases, especially for neglected tropic diseases. As a result, public health and health care efforts must account for the role of gender when working to prevent and intervene in the chain of transmission. Unfortunately, there has been little focus on how these gender-related factors impact health-seeking behaviors. . . Overall, they found that health care workers continued to state how women face additional challenges in seeking medical care, from both power dynamics and access to services.

WHO revs up to surpass its goals set for South-East Asia

Poonam Khetrapal
The Hindu BusinessLine
Indonesia and Timor-Leste continue to make advances against neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). Both are looking to achieve several last-mile victories as they strive to keep the promise and leave no one behind. . . All initiatives will, of course, contribute to a single overarching goal: achieving UHC. From the battle against TB and neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) to the quest to roll back antimicrobial resistance, the South-East Asia Region is committed to ensuring each person’s right to health is respected, protected and fulfilled. For the region’s near two billion people, anything less is less than adequate.

A Human Approach for Universal Health Coverage

Carl Manlan
Scientific American
Traditionally, large sums of money have been pooled to address a single disease or a group of diseases that threatened the socioeconomic fabric of the world, and, most specifically, Africa. . . Yet, there are many times that diseases do not necessarily follow the money. For instance, the 20 neglected tropical diseases currently affect 1.6 billion people across the world. These diseases and others thrive because of poor water and sanitation and a lack of practical education on prevention. The paradox is that 1.7 billion treatments are available but resources and funds are limited to deliver these treatments to end them for good.


Rapid Diagnostic Tests for Chagas Show Promise in Bolivian Field Study

Grant Gallagher
Contagion Live
Chagas disease, caused by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, is a global phenomenon, but the highest burden is concentrated in low-income parts of South America. While there are effective tests for detecting Chagas disease commercially available, their use isn’t practical in highly endemic regions due to poorly equipped laboratories. Rapid diagnostic tests provide a potential alternative for diagnosis of Chagas disease in the context of material constraints. A new field study published in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases evaluated the use of these tests to detect chronic Trypanosoma cruzi infections in the Chaco region of Bolivia, with results supporting the use of rapid diagnostic tests.

Drugs research targets three tropical diseases

An international consortium led by Brazilian researchers hopes to speed up the discovery of new drugs to be used in the treatment of malaria, visceral leishmaniasis and Chagas disease. . . The consortium involves researchers at the universities of Campinas (Unicamp) and São Paulo (USP), both in São Paulo state, and two international organizations, Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) and Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi). “Our goal is to deliver a therapeutic alternative that brings a little more quality of life to the patient during treatment,” said Jadel Kratz, drug discovery manager at DNDi.

This Has Been the Best Year Ever

Nicholas Kristof
The New York Times
If you’re depressed by the state of the world, let me toss out an idea: In the long arc of human history, 2019 has been the best year ever. . . Diseases like polio, leprosy, river blindness and elephantiasis are on the decline, and global efforts have turned the tide on AIDS.

LSTM’s emeritus Professor David Molyneux receives Queen’s Honour

Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine
LSTM’s Emeritus Professor David Molyneux has been appointed as Companion to the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George(link is external) (CMG) in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list(link is external), for services to ‘Controlling Neglected Tropical Diseases’. . . LSTM’s Director, Professor David Lalloo, said: “What a fantastic and well-deserved honour for David, who has worked tirelessly to ensure that neglected tropical diseases, and the billions of people at risk from them, became a central part of global health policy. He continues that work today, advocating for some of the world’s poorest communities and working with LSTM to break the cycle of poverty and poor health.”

FUNDING OPPORTUNITY: Oak 2020 Fellowship Deadline Extended!

Oak Institute for Human Rights
The Oak Fellowship annually offers an opportunity for one prominent human rights activist to take leave from frontline work and spend the fall semester in residence at Colby [Maine, USA]. The Oak Fellow’s responsibilities include regular meetings with students through a small seminar class and informal discussion groups. Additionally, the fellow works with Colby’s faculty to share a lecture series or symposium on their human rights interests. The fellow participates in intellectual life on campus. The fellow participates in intellectual life on campus, providing Colby students the opportunity to work with an internationally recognized human rights activist. In addition to a $36,000 stipend, the fellowship includes health benefits, housing, a campus meal plan, and transportation. 2020 Theme: Borders and Human Rights. January 20: Extended Application deadline .

Upcoming Events 

Atlanta’s Role in the Global Mental Health Revolution
January 14, 2020, Atlanta, Georgai
Today, more than 450 million people worldwide live with a mental illness, and depression is the world's leading cause of disability. Learn what The Carter Center and The Center for Victims of Torture are doing to address the mental health crisis. This program is presented in partnership with the Georgia Global Health Alliance. If you are unable to attend in person, we invite you to watch the live webcast on our website.  

World Leprosy Day
January 26, 2020
The last Sunday in January was chosen by French humanitarian Raoul Follereau in 1953, as the third Sunday from Epiphany from the Catholic calendar. The Catholic Church then reads the story of the Gospel where Jesus meets and heals a person with leprosy.

Concepts and Applications of Clinical Pharmacokinetics (ClinPK) 2020
January 27-31, 2020, Kumasi, Ghana
As part of the Skills for Excellence In Science Series (SEXISS), The Global Health and Infectious Diseases Research Group (GHID) at the Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research in Tropical Medicine (KCCR), Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in collaboration with Pharmacometrics Africa, a non-profit company which aims to develop quantitative clinical pharmacology competence among African scientists, and more generally among pharmacometricians in low and middle-income countries will be offering a 5-day, Continuous Professional Development (CPD)-eligible workshop in “Concepts and Applications of Clinical Pharmacokinetics”, ClinPK.

World NTD Day
January 30, 2020
Join us to kick off a decisive year in the fight against neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). Together, we’ll celebrate hard-earned progress in the face of enormous challenges and take action to #BeatNTDs: For good. For all.

BeatNTDs: World NTD Day
January 30, 2020, Decatur, GA
For more than 30 years, The Task Force for Global Health has worked on the elimination of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) which affect the poorest billion people in the world, and currently, we are helping partners eliminate 6 of those diseases. Join us for a panel discussion with partners on the collaborative partnerships that have made the immense impact thus far and what it is going to take to reach the ambitious goals of elimination that have been laid out by the World Health Organization.

73rd World Health Assembly Executive Board
February 3-8, 2020, Geneva, Switzerland
The Executive Board is composed of 34 technically qualified members elected for three-year terms. The annual Board meeting is held in January when the members agree upon the agenda for the World Health Assembly and the resolutions to be considered by the Health Assembly.

World Health Summit Regional Meeting
April 27-28, 2020, Kampala, Uganda
The central topics of the Regional Meeting 2020 are in line with the African journey towards meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goals and achieving universal health coverage. We invite academic institutions, companies, foundations, and other organizations to get involved. If you wish to contribute and become a partner of the Regional Meeting, please get in touch to discuss the opportunites.

73rd World Health Assembly
May 17-20, 2020, Geneva, Switzerland
The World Health Assembly is the decision-making body of WHO. It is attended by delegations from all WHO Member States and focuses on a specific health agenda prepared by the Executive Board. The main functions of the World Health Assembly are to determine the policies of the Organization, appoint the Director-General, supervise financial policies, and review and approve the proposed programme budget. The Health Assembly is held annually in Geneva, Switzerland.

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.

NTD NGO Network Annual Meeting
September 8-10, 2020, Kathmandu, Neoal
2020 will be an important year: celebrating the success and embracing the new NTD Roadmap from the World Health Organization. Please get your stories ready and join the celebration!

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.