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USAID Extends Its Funding to COR-NTD & 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.  

Ima Health Worker in Haiti

A newly awarded USAID grant will support continued operational research, the annual COR-NTD meeting, the African Researchers’ Small Grants Program, an expanded investment in the generation of innovative diagnostic strategies for NTDs, and enhancing the use of data to support programmatic decision making. 


Lymphatic filariasis

Repellent-resistant mosquito in north Bengal

The Telegraph (India)
In at least three north Bengal districts, mosquitoes that spread the parasitic worm that causes lymphatic filariasis, or elephantiasis, show resistance to insecticides used by public health authorities to curb mosquito populations. Scientists at the University of North Bengal have called for intensified surveillance after they detected samples of the Culex quinquefasciatus mosquitoes from Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri and North Dinajpur showing resistance to four classes of insecticides — organophosphates, carbamates, synthetic pyrethroids and DDT.

WHO sustains Lymphatic Filariasis treatments in over 500 local government areas across Nigeria

Charity Warigon
World Health Organization Nigeria
The World Health Organization (WHO) is currently supporting the Nigerian Government to distribute medications to treat Lymphatic Filariasis (LF) across 520 Nigerian Local Government Areas (LGAs). "I'm happy these drugs are being distributed in my hometown. No one deserves to suffer what I have suffered," says Feisal Alhassan, a native of Minna, Niger State, who suffered from the debilitating disease for 14 years. "Even though I was told LF has no cure, it’s good to know one can at least prevent its progress if these drugs are taken early”, he says. “I have also been told that for those like me who already have LF, taking these drugs will help prevent transmission of the disease to others”, he added.

VIDEO: Protecting people from lymphatic filariasis in Guinea Bissau

The Bijagos Islands have the highest prevalence of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) in Guinea Bissau. Lymphatic filariasis (LF) is an NTD that affects the lymphatic system and causes painful disability and intense swelling.


A New Beginning: 2018 Annual Highlights

Mectizan Donation Program
In our 31st year, we demonstrate progress toward onchocerciasis (river blindness) and lymphatic filariasis (LF) elimination, expand into new countries and celebrate the partnerships without which success would not be possible.


Cross-continental YouthMapping for fighting schistosomiasis in the Senegal River Valley

Michael Montani
Youth Mappers
During the permanence in Senegal, we had the possibility to make surveys on spots of particular types of aquatic vegetation composing the habitat of the snails. For these surveys, we were joined by Ibrahima Diallo, the president of the UGB chapter of Youthmappers who was so instrumental also for the organization of our mapathon in November 2018.

Soil-Transmitted Helminthiasis

VIDEO: Better Data and Drug Quality Drives Children Without Worms’ Efforts to Help Eliminate Intestinal Worm Infections

The Task Force for Global Health
Director of The Task Force for Global Health’s Children Without Worms (CWW), Rubina Imtiaz, MBBS, shares what she is most excited about this year for CWW and the STH Coalition for which CWW acts as the secretariat. Soil-transmitted helminthiasis (STH) continues to be one of the most prevalent neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) in the world according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Imtiaz lays out global priorities for STH control and elimination, and sees the STH coalition, which brings together key stakeholders in the STH community, as a key to reaching vulnerable populations such as pre-school aged children and women of reproductive age, improving data quality, and increased access to quality drugs.


Bringing eye care to hard-to-reach people

Moses Chege
The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness
Since 2015 the UK aid funded CATCH programme (Coordinated Approach to Community Healthy eyes) has transformed access to eye health services across remote areas in Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Uganda and Zambia. Initially CATCH “piggybacked” trachoma programmes, using trachoma surgery camps to identify people with other eye conditions and provide treatment. The most common condition found through CATCH has been cataract, a blinding disease that is treatable with a simple operation. As with many eye conditions, cataract disproportionately affects women – yet in a lot of places, reaching women or people from marginalised groups can be challenging.

Hope and Humility for Azithromycin

Naor Bar-Zeev et al.
New England Journal of Medicine
The azithromycin story is a salutary reminder that large initial effects may subsequently settle on a more modest effect size, as John Ioannides has convincingly reargued and as was made famous by Francis Galton in the late 19th century through his description of regression toward the mean. How should delivery of azithromycin be targeted? Do only some populations benefit? When and why? Should trial end points be more specific or more circumspect? Even if benefits are confirmed for some, will antimicrobial resistance cause harm to others? Perhaps our hopes for azithromycin should be more modest.


USAID Extends its Funding of the Coalition for Operational Research on Neglected Tropical Diseases (COR-NTD)

Chelsea Toledo
NTD Support Center
The grant extension to COR-NTD will support continued operational research to address programmatic barriers; the annual COR-NTD meeting, which brings together program implementers and researchers; and the African Researchers’ Small Grants Program, which builds research capacity among African scientists. Additionally, the extension will provide an expanded investment in innovative diagnostic strategies for NTDs, as well as new funds to enhance the use of data to support program decision making.

Concerted effort needed to eliminate Neglected Tropical Diseases

Yaw Ansah
Ghana News Agency
Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare, Director-General of Ghana Health Service, says a concerted effort by stakeholders is needed to eliminate Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) in the country. He said, “The fight against NTD, which included the control, elimination, and eradication could be won if efforts also focus on the improvement of the Water Sanitation and Health (WASH) infrastructure and appropriate health-seeking behaviours”. Dr Nsiah-Asare said this at a cross-sectoral collaboration forum organised by World Vision International- Ghana under the USAID funded Act to End NTDs West Programmes held in Accra.

Momentum for community health workers at the Seventy-second World Health Assembly

World Health Organization
The World Health Assembly recognized that community health workers play an important role in delivering quality primary health care services as part of interdisciplinary teams. Through a resolution supported by Member States, the Assembly took note of the WHO Guideline on health policy and system support to optimize community health worker programmes.

The Vital Role of Community Health Workers – Dr. Jean Bosco Niyonzima's Story

Malaria Must Die
This one community health worker’s training and quick actions show how critical their role is in saving lives. “Many may think having a community health worker is a luxury, but that is false,” says Dr Niyonzima. “When community health workers are trained and supervised, and receive regular medical supplies and financial compensation, they do a good job. Their role needs to be integrated into primary healthcare systems and it would be a mistake to ignore this – the price is too high.”

A Ceaseless Curiosity to Eliminate NTDs: Spotlight on Neglected Tropical Diseases Support Center Director, Patrick Lammie, PhD

The Task Force for Global Health
Could efforts by The Task Force and other organizations one day eliminate NTDs? “I have to believe it’s realistic. That’s an important driver that gets me up every morning,” Lammie says. “When I first started working in the field, there’s no way I could have imagined that lymphatic filariasis, or for that matter, other NTDs, could really and truly be eliminated. It’s only as the work shifted from the treatment of individual patients to the treatment of districts and countries that I began to get excited about the prospect.”

AUDIO: Vivian Singletary and David Addiss on health data ethics

Inform Me, Informatics
Vivian Singletary, PHII’s director, and David Addiss, longtime health ethics advocate and the director of the Focus Area for Compassion and Ethics in Global Health (FACE), join the show to talk about how consumer privacy and health data ethics intersect.


Big data 'can stop malaria outbreaks before they start'

Richard Galpin
BBC News
A ground-breaking study in Bangladesh has found that using data from mobile phone networks to track the movement of people across the country can help predict where outbreaks of diseases such as malaria are likely to occur, enabling health authorities to take preventative measures.

Can ITN distribution policies increase children’s ITN use? A DHS analysis

Katherine Theiss-Nyland, Jo Lines and Paul Fine
Malaria Journal
[Insecticide-treated net, or] ITN distribution via [antenatal care, or] ANC and [expanded programme on immunization, pr] EPI can not only assist countries in maintaining ITN ownership and use, but may be extremely effective at increasing ITN ownership and use. There is also an additional benefit associated with combined ANC and EPI-based ITN distribution, compared to ANC distribution alone.

Focus on Africa: Uganda on alert after Ebola deaths near DRC border

William Niba
Ugandan Health Minister Dr Jane Ruth Aceng travelled to Bwera, a settlement east of the Mpondwe border crossing from the DRC on Wednesday, accompanied by experts from the Virus Research Institute (UVRI) in Entebbe and the WHO, to assess the state of response operations. Uganda has reportedly vaccinated close to 5,000 health workers in 165 health facilities close to the DRC border while Kampala prepares its response to the looming epidemic.

Emory University receives historic $180 million grant funding innovative efforts to prevent child mortality. . .

Megan McRainey
Emory News Center
Emory University today announced that the Child Health and Mortality Prevention Surveillance network (CHAMPS), a global health network headquartered in the Emory Global Health Institute, has been awarded the university’s largest-ever single grant. Launched in 2015, CHAMPS collects and analyzes data to help identify the causes of child mortality in the places where it’s highest. This latest $180 million supplement brings the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s total investment in CHAMPS to $271 million and demonstrates its position as a critical tool for preventing child mortality around the world

Upcoming Events

ISNTD Bites 2019
June 20, Liverpool, UK
This is an opportunity to find out more about the impact of vector borne diseases (such as dengue, malaria and leishmaniasis) and their carriers, including research in vector behaviour and their global expansion, as well as the immense potential of integrated approaches across disciplines to tackle some of global health's toughest challenges. This year, we are focusing on the evidence base for vector control as part of public health programs. 

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 AFRO 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.

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.

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.

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.