Sign up to receive our news roundups

TDR Launches Crowdfunding Opportunity & 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.  


 TDR Global is partnering with SESH to build capacity for crowdfunding among a group of low- and middle-income country* researchers focused on infectious diseases.


Lymphatic filariasis

Elephantiasis resurfaces among migrant workers in Mysuru

Shankar Bennur
The Hindu (India)
Are migrant workers employed in Mysuru carrying Lymphatic Filariasis (LF) disease, also known as elephantiasis? The Department of Health and Family Welfare in Mysuru has come across 11 LF cases last year and five cases so far this year after conducting blood tests on the labourers, visiting their work sites and settlements.

Social development ministry of Province 2 transfers health budget for construction works

Arjun Poudel
The Kathmandu Post (Nepal)
The social development ministry of Province 2 has transferred most of the budget allocated for health care services by the provincial government to construction works. . . According to the ministerial level decision, the budget was allocated for mental health programmes, cardiovascular disease, leprosy, hydrocele surgery, lymphatic filariasis, training of health workers, child health and immunisation programmes, urban health programmes, and construction of primary health care centers, among others.


Prevalence of onchocerciasis and associated clinical manifestations in selected hypoendemic communities in Ghana. . .

Kenneth Bentum Otabil et al.
BMC Infectious Diseases
The study showed that despite several years of mass drug administration with ivermectin, infection with onchocerciasis and the commonly associated clinical manifestations of the disease still persist in the study communities. This calls for a greater urgency for research and development aimed at discovering new or repurposed anti-filarial agents which will augment ivermectin if global onchocerciasis eradication targets are to be achieved.

This former pharmaceutical exec figured out a brand-new way to finance treatments for global diseases. And he's already doing it

Adam Bluestein
Fast Company
Mark Sullivan, a veteran of GSK and Gilead, knew there were promising leads languishing in academic labs. He decided to “adopt” some of them, convening a virtual team to design and manage every part of the development and approval process—and paying for it in a revolutionary way. Here’s how it worked: Sullivan’s not-for-profit, Medicines Development for Global Health, acquired the license to develop the drug moxidectin in 2014 for human indications, including river blindness, a condition covered by the FDA’s Tropical Disease Priority Review program. That entitled the organization to a priority review for moxidectin—plus a transferable voucher for priority review (6 months versus 10) of a second application for any type of drug.


Greatest outbreak of schistosomiasis cases is in Arakan

Burma News International
Arakan state has the largest outbreak of schistosomiasis cases among fourteen states and regions in Myanmar, said Dr Kyi Lwin, head of the Department of Public Health in Arakan State. “The outbreaks of schistosomiasis are still discovered here. And diarrhea is also prevalent here. Arakan has the most rampant cases of schistosomiasis in Myanmar,” Dr Kyi Lwin told the media in a campaign held on May 21 at U Ottama Hall in Sittwe to prevent schistosomiasis disease caused by parasitic worms from freshwater snails.

Soil-Transmitted Helminthiasis

Systematic review of exposure to albendazole or mebendazole during pregnancy and effects on maternal and child outcomes. . .

Theresa Gyorkos and Kariane St-Denis
International Journal for Parasitology
Evidence on exposure to albendazole or mebendazole in pregnancy is heterogeneous. No additional risk of adverse birth outcomes was found with first trimester exposure. Future research should report benzimidazole exposure by trimester.

Provision of deworming intervention to pregnant women by antenatal services in countries endemic for soil-transmitted helminthia

Mathieu Bangert et al.
PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
This study provides estimates for the number of pregnant women at risk of soil-transmitted helminthiasis being dewormed by antenatal services in endemic countries conducting Demographic Health Surveys. These estimates mark the preliminary reference point for deworming coverage among pregnant women in endemic countries, and will thus prove useful for tracking overall progress in the ongoing effort to eliminate neglected tropical diseases.


Trachoma Elimination in Africa: Lessons from Two Multi-Country Initiatives

International Coalition for Trachoma Control
Using a participatory approach, the Learning Exercise identified, explored and documented examples of good practice, what worked well and what could have been done differently. The learning described in this paper was collected through a review of key documents; written survey responses; and key informant interviews, focus group discussions and workshops with stakeholders at global, regional and country levels. Conclusions reflect the perceptions of participants in the Learning Exercise.

Govt drive to eliminate trachoma

Astha Saxena
The Indian Express
The Delhi government is all set to launch an awareness programme to eliminate trachoma — a bacterial infection which, if untreated, can cause blindness — by 2020. . . The number of cases in the capital grew to 1,361 in 2018-19 from 241 in 2017-18. “We hope to bring it down to zero in the capital. It is crucial to create awareness among public and medical professionals. A training programme will be held for doctors on do’s and don’ts while performing surgery,” said Dr K S Baghotia, additional director, department of health and family welfare


Crowdfund your own research future

SESH Global
TDR Global is partnering with SESH to build capacity for crowdfunding among a group of low- and middle-income country researchers focused on infectious diseases. Crowdfunding for infectious diseases research is both a science and an art – one must have both a compelling research question and also a clear way to effectively communicate this with the public. For example, Stephanie Bowers used crowdfunding to successfully raise a quarter of a million dollars for global health projects, reaching over 7,000 children. Our team will identify selected individuals and build their capacity to use crowdfunding related to infectious diseases in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).

Launch of 2019 REACH Awards - Call for Nomination

Reaching the Last Mile
The biennial Recognizing Excellence Around Champions of Health (REACH) Awards recognize those who have demonstrated extraordinary leadership and commitment in the field of disease elimination. From boots-on-the-ground innovators to local community health workers, the REACH Awards aim to celebrate critical contributions from those on the front lines of disease elimination. The awards underscore the belief of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, that no one should suffer from preventable diseases and that the ability of people to live a healthy life is a key driver of development, which leads to stable, prosperous societies.

Experts Discuss Decentralized Manufacturing to Tackle Neglected Tropical Diseases and Promote UHC at World Health Assembly Event

Yahoo! Finance
Dr. Udit Batra, member of the Executive Board and CEO of the Life Science business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, spoke at the World Health Assembly about the company's commitment to advancing research and development toward the elimination of neglected and emerging illnesses. "Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany is committed to advancing research and development toward the elimination of neglected and emerging illnesses, such as schistosomiasis, one of the most common and devastating parasitic diseases in tropical countries, with more than 280,000 people dying each year as a result," said Batra. "We, like the World Health Organization, aim to tackle these global challenges and offer a better quality of life."

Report Highlights Positive Progress on Global Access to Medications

Alex Keown
According to Netherlands-based Access to Medicine Foundation, 83% of the world’s population live in 106 countries that have limited access to medication. . . “Reaching the two billion people who still lack access to medicine worldwide is possible, provided we continue to build on what has already been achieved and are prepared to redraw and forge the path ahead,” the foundation said.

Diagnostics are essential for universal health coverage to succeed

Madhukar Pai, Catharina Boehme, and Ilona Kickbusc
As countries make progress toward universal health coverage and design and deliver their essential health benefits packages, diagnostics must be included as a key component of such packages. Why? Because most diseases or conditions cannot be correctly managed without a clear diagnosis. High-quality health care begins with seeking care, followed by a diagnosis that leads to appropriate therapy. Individual disease and outbreaks can’t be stopped if the cause is not identified early.


WHO releases long-awaited strategy to tackle snakebite

Doctors Without Borders
The World Health Organization today released its long-anticipated global strategy on the prevention and control of snakebite envenoming, pledging to cut snakebite deaths and disability in half by 2030. As snakebite kills more people than any other disease on WHO’s Neglected Tropical Diseases list, governments and funding organizations must step up now and respond to snakebite with the urgency and attention it demands, said the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).

Revisiting the taxonomy and evolution of pathogenicity of the genus Leptospira through the prism of genomics

Anthony T. Vincent et al.
PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Comparison of these genomes with other members of the Leptospira genus revealed the existence of 30 novel Leptospira species. A comparative genomic analysis of species of the genus allowed us to identify genes or genome features that are specific of infectious species, providing insights into virulence evolution in these atypical bacteria but also allow refinement of the Leptospira classification.

How Nigerian biochemist hopes to stop spread of sleeping sickness

The Guardian (Nigeria)
Emmanuel Balogun, a biochemist at Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria in Nigeria, has been examining trypanosomiasis, or sleeping sickness, in humans and animals since 2007. Now, he is working to develop drugs to combat the disease. . . "I aim to identify molecules that can kill trypanosomes, the parasites that carry the disease, by inhibiting enzymes that help their cells to produce energy, and to develop those inhibitory molecules as drugs."

The country where the malaria parasite was discovered 140 years ago is now free of the disease

Yomi Kazeem
Quartz Africa
More than a century after the malaria parasite was first discovered in Algeria by a French physician, the country is now rid of the deadly disease. After last reporting a malaria case in 2013, Algeria has joined 37 other countries globally that have been certified malaria-free by the World Health Organization (WHO). Algeria becomes the third African country to be certified malaria-free following Mauritius in 1973 and Morocco in 2010.

Facebook releases disease prevention maps to fight flu, malaria outbreaks

Andrea Park
Becker's Health IT & CIO Report
Using a combination of artificial intelligence, satellite imagery and publicly available census information, Facebook has created three types of maps to improve responses to disease outbreaks, available for use by health organizations around the world beginning May 20. The movement, population density and network coverage maps are all high-resolution depictions of communities' access to health resources. The trio of maps can be used, respectively, to predict where outbreaks of diseases like malaria, cholera and the flu will arise next, help organizations decide where to allocate resources and determine whether these intended beneficiaries can be reached with telehealth and other digital solutions.

Upcoming Events 

A Country Model for Zero Leprosy
May 29, 2019, Webinar
Our country model supports national programmes in their efforts towards zero leprosy. This approach will strengthen programmes by helping countries take stock of their current activities and needs through country reviews; working with countries to create roadmaps that lead towards zero leprosy; supporting country-led strategies through an online toolkit of best practices, created by national programme managers and partners; and facilitating national partnerships in countries to mobilize resources and partnerships across sectors. 

Women Deliver 2019 Conference
June 3-6, 2019, Vancouver, Canada
The Women Deliver 2019 Conference – the world’s largest gathering on the health, rights, and wellbeing of women and girls – will serve as a fueling station for advocates working to achieve a more gender equal world. In the summer of 2019, over 6,000 world leaders, influencers, advocates, academics, activists, and journalists will flock to Vancouver with dreams of accelerating progress girls and women everywhere.

Bill Foege Global Health Awards
June 6, 2019, Atlanta, Georgia
MAP International annually presents the Bill Foege Global Health Awards to recognize people and organizations whose contributions to the progress of global health measure substantially. Leaders in the global health community consider Dr. Bill Foege as a folk hero in the global health community, crediting him as "the man most responsible for eradicating smallpox."

WHO AFRO NTD Biennial Programme Managers Meeting
July 15-19, 2019, Location TBA
Please hold the week of July 15, 2019 as the World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa will be holding its Biennial NTD Programme Managers Meeting. This meeting will focus on Preventive Chemotherapy and Case Management diseases. We will be in touch soon to confirm the location and share all relevant documents.

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.

11th European Congress on Tropical Medicine and International Health
September 16-20, 2019, 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, 2019, 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, 2019, 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.

Sustainability & Development Conference
October 11-14, 2019, 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.

ASTMH 68th Annual Meeting
November 20-24, 2019, 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, 2019, 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. Proposals will be accepted from now until 30 May 2019.