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WHO Publishes a Framework for Monitoring and Evaluating Progress of the Road Map & 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. 


Red Cross volunteers inform community members about the NTD medicine campaign in Benin. Photo: FHI 360/Benin

Lymphatic filariasis

Lymphatic filariasis elimination endgame in an urban Indian setting: the roles of surveillance and residual microfilaremia ...

Anjali Modi, Keshav G. Vaishnav, Kailash Kothiya and Neal Alexander
Infectious Diseases of Poverty
Extensive long-term epidemiological monitoring suggests that all the urban population, including high-risk groups, have benefitted from the ELF program. To prevent re-establishment of infection in large urban areas with unsanitary conditions conducive to filarial vector breeding, there is need to identify residual microfilaremia by customized surveys in addition to pre-MDA monitoring and TAS. The present findings can be used to develop strategies to prioritize screening, surveillance and plan treatment of high-risk groups after achieving MDA endpoints.


The World Health Organization road map for neglected tropical diseases 2021–2030: implications for onchocerciasis elimination...

Melissa Krizia Vieri, Makoy Yibi Logora, Kamran Rafiq and Robert Colebunders
Infectious Diseases of Poverty
In its new roadmap for neglected tropical diseases, the World Health Organization proposes three important strategic shifts: (i) Stronger accountability which shifting from process to impact indicators; (ii) Intensified cross-cutting approaches; and (iii) Stronger country ownership. In this paper we discuss the implementation of these three strategies in the setting of a high onchocerciasis disease burden in South Sudan.

High Prevalence of Epilepsy in an Onchocerciasis-Endemic Area in Mvolo County, South Sudan: A Door-To-Door Survey

Stephen Raimon et al.
In conclusion, a high prevalence and incidence of epilepsy was observed in Mvolo, South Sudan. Strengthening of the onchocerciasis elimination programme is urgently needed in order to prevent epilepsy in this region.

The Secretome of Filarial Nematodes and Its Role in Host-Parasite Interactions and Pathogenicity in Onchocerciasis...Epilepsy

An Hotterbeekx, Jolien Perneel, Melissa Krizia Vieri, Robert Colebunders and Samir Kumar-Singh
Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology
The secretome of filarial nematodes is a key player in both infection and pathology, making them an interesting target for further investigation. This review summarises the current knowledge regarding the components of the excretory-secretory products (ESPs) of filarial parasites and their bioactive functions in the human host. In addition, the pathogenic potential of the identified components, which are mostly proteins, in the pathophysiology of onchocerciasis-associated epilepsy is discussed.


Prevalence and factors associated with intestinal schistosomiasis and human fascioliasis among school children in Amhara Region

Teshome Bekana et al.
Tropical Medicine and Health
Both intestinal schistosomiasis and human fascioliasis are prevalent in the study area, affecting school children. Behaviors and access to unimproved water and sanitation are among significant risk factors. The findings are instrumental for targeted interventions.

Evaluation of schistosomula crude antigen (SCA) as a diagnostic tool for Schistosoma mansoni in low endemic human population

Oyetunde Timothy Oyeyemi et al.
Scientific Reports
Our study showed that SCA and its 10–12 kDa component could be useful as diagnostic tools for chronic schistosomiasis.

Twenty years of soil-transmitted helminths and schistosome infection control in Ethiopia

Rosie Maddren
Soil-transmitted helminths and schistosomiasis are the most prevalent neglected tropical diseases. In Ethiopia alone they infect approximately 36 million and 5 million individuals respectively. Ethiopia has set ambitious targets of elimination. A new systematic review analyses the national progress toward these over the past 20 years.

Soil-Transmitted Helminthiasis

Prevalence and Risk Factors of Intestinal Helminthiasis in Remote Mountainous Villages of Northern Lao PDR ...

Hanna Jin et al.
The Korean Journal of Parasitology
These results suggest that the mountainous area in northern Lao PDR has a different composition of helminth infections from other studies conducted in Lao PDR; a high prevalence of hookworm infection and taeniasis and low prevalence of T. trichiura and A. lumbricoides infections were observed. Also, liver flukes or intestinal flukes were similarly prevalent in the mountainous area.

Preclinical and Clinical Characteristics of the Trichuricidal Drug Oxantel Pamoate and Clinical Development Plans: A Review

Marta S. Palmeirim et al.
Several clinical trials have investigated the efficacy of this drug against T. trichiura and suggest that oxantel pamoate is more efficacious against T. trichiura than the currently recommended drugs, which makes it a strong asset to the depleted drug armamentarium and could help delay or even prevent the development of resistance to existing drugs. We highlight existing data to support the use of oxantel pamoate against T. trichiura infections.

Transmission Dynamics of Intestinal Parasites Infection in Children under Anthelminthic Treatment Residing in a High-Risk Area..

Arnol Bowo-Ngandji et al.
International Journal of Tropical Disease & Health
These results showed persistence in active transmission of various intestinal parasites in the study area. Hence, stakeholders in charge of controlling these infections should reinforce specific intervention measures against these diseases such as the implication of control measures at all levels of the transmission chain (individual and environmental level).

Utilization of Deworming Drugs and Its Individual and Community Level Predictors among Pregnant Married Women in Cameroon...

Betregiorgis Zegeye, Bright Opoku Ahinkorah, Edward Kwabena Ameyaw, Abdul-Aziz Seidu and Sanni Yaya
BioMed Research International
Our findings showed that about 29.8% of pregnant married women received deworming medications. The individual/household level predictors of deworming medications utilization identified in this study were women’s educational level, wealth quintile, and skilled antenatal care. Distance to health facility and region were identified as community-level predictors of deworming medications utilization. Higher odds of receiving deworming medication occurred among educated and wealthier pregnant married women as well as among pregnant married women who had skilled antenatal care or lived in the south region, whereas lower odds were observed among pregnant married women living in the north region.

Africa: Deworming Cuts Child Deaths, Saves Mothers

Angela Oketch
All Africa
Deworming during pregnancy reduces the risk of a child dying within the first four weeks after birth by 14 per cent and prevents a mother from developing anaemia, a new study has revealed.


The population-based prevalence of trachomatous scarring in a trachoma hyperendemic setting: results from 152 impact surveys

Tigist Astale et al.
BMC Ophthalmology
These results suggest that Amhara has had a long history of trachoma exposure and that a large population remains at risk for developing TT. It is promising, however, that children, many born after interventions began, have low levels of TS compared to other known trachoma-hyperendemic areas.


Ending the neglect to attain the sustainable development goals: a framework for monitoring and evaluating progress ...

World Health Organization
This framework is a call to action to countries and implementing partners with fully defined operational impact indicators for greater accountability and action, starting at the country level. It aims to provide guidance on mainstreaming the monitoring and evaluation of neglected tropical diseases within health information systems and emphasizes that monitoring and evaluation are integral components of interventions against neglected tropical diseases. The framework highlights the importance of standardization of indicators and defines the core set and the additional indicators to ensure comparability across the different implementational levels as well as across countries.

BBC Health Update on AFRO NTD Mapping

Claudia Hammond and Maria Rebollo
Neglected Tropical Diseases Support Center
Ms. Hammond interviews Maria Rebollo, ESPEN team leader for the World Health Organization Africa about the AFRO Mapping Project. (Original interview published on BBC Health Check).

New global targets for NTDs in the WHO roadmap 2021–2030

Adriano Casulli
PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
To conclude, WHO leads the way of this set of global interventions against NTDs, but it is up to Member States, donors, NGOs, academia, pharmaceutical and diagnostic companies, multilateral organizations, disease experts, implementing partners, and all other stakeholders to align their strategies under the "NTD brand" umbrella and take actions towards their prevention, control, elimination, and eradication

Strengthening data collection for neglected tropical diseases: What data are needed for models to better inform ...

Jaspreet Toor et al.
PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
In this collection, we discuss the data needs for several NTDs, specifically gambiense human African trypanosomiasis, lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis, schistosomiasis, soil-transmitted helminths (STH), trachoma, and visceral leishmaniasis. Similarities in the data needs for these NTDs highlight the potential for integration across these diseases and where possible, a wider spectrum of diseases.

Sustainable surveillance of neglected tropical diseases for the post-elimination era

Hollie A Hatherell, Hope Simpson, Rebecca F Baggaley, T Déirdre Hollingsworth and Rachel Pullan
Clinical Infectious Diseases
Nationally representative survey programmes, such as Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS), may offer a platform for the integration of NTD surveillance within national health systems and health information systems. Here we describe characteristics of DHS and other surveys conducted within the WHO Africa Region in terms of frequency, target populations and sample types, and discuss applicability for post-validation and post-elimination surveillance. Maximising utility depends not only on the availability of improved diagnostics but also better understanding of the spatial and temporal dynamics of transmission at low prevalence. To this end, we outline priorities for obtaining further data to better characterise optimal post-elimination surveillance platforms.

Building supply chain capacity for neglected tropical diseases: experience from the Ascend West and Central Africa programme

Rocio Villacorta Linaza, Timothy Garner and Chantelle Genovezos
Transactions of The Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
These messages remain relevant post-COVID-19, with greater priority being given to the challenges for national NTD programmes in continuing to deliver mass drug administration (MDA) during the pandemic. Stakeholder coordination from the earliest stages of the pandemic has occurred at two levels: in the first mile with global partners of the NTD Supply Chain Forum and in the last mile with implementing partners in each country. This has been instrumental to manage delayed MDA, including the impact delays have on the shipment of NTD donated drugs and the distribution of stock held in country. The Ascend West and Central Africa programme is supporting countries with the resumption of MDA through a risk assessment and mitigation action (RAMA) process.


Powering Vaccine R&D: Opportunities for Transformation

The Sabin-Aspen Vaccine Science & Policy Group
As we learn the lessons from the past, we expect to see opportunities to overhaul current practices in time for the next pandemic, whenever it may strike; to make strides against the many endemic diseases that remain without adequate vaccines; and to accelerate the development of next-generation vaccines that improve performance or facilitate access and demand.

Thrive’s Support for Research at Gulu University, Uganda

Corinna Alberg
Cambridge Africa
THRiVE (Training Health Researchers into Vocational Excellence) is a consortium of universities and research institutes in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. Along with its two northern partners, the University of Cambridge and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, THRiVE has been developing research excellence amongst African research fellows undertaking research on African health priorities.

GHIT Fund renews support for DNDi drug discovery and early-stage development for leishmaniasis and Chagas disease

Frédéric Ojardias
Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative
Additional JPY 955 million (EUR 7.4 million) in funding will support work to advance urgently needed medical innovation for millions of people affected by the two neglected tropical diseases.

Opportunity: Seed Grant for New African Principal Investigators

The World Academy of Sciences
With the support of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), TWAS launches a new programme to strengthen the capacity of African countries lagging in science and technology. The new programme is aimed at young scientists who are getting established in their country or about to return home to an academic position. Under this scheme, grants are awarded to promising high-level research projects in Agriculture, Biology, Chemistry, Earth Sciences, Engineering, Information Computer Technology, Mathematics, Medical Sciences and Physics carried out in African countries lagging in science and technology identified by TWAS. Deadline for submission: July 27, 2021.

Opportunity: Presenting the Falcon Awards

We are excited to announce the launch of our inaugural Falcon Awards for Disease Elimination to help advance the elimination of malaria, polio, lymphatic filariasis, and onchocerciasis. We will award up to five grants of up to US$200,000 each to organisations based in endemic countries. Awards will be given to talented groups whose project proposals demonstrate a high potential to expand and amplify effective solutions in disease elimination and create a lasting impact around our current diseases of focus. We look forward to reviewing your submissions and supporting the five winners by providing technical advice and advocacy support through publicising the winning proposals and their respective milestones.


Institutional and behaviour-change interventions to support COVID-19 public health measures: a review by the Lancet Commission..

Jong-Koo Lee et al.
International Health
Drawing on our review of published studies of data analytics and modelling, evidence synthesis and contextualisation, and behavioural science evidence and theory on public health interventions from a range of sources, we outline evidence for a range of institutional measures and behaviour-change measures. We cite examples of measures adopted by a range of countries, but especially jurisdictions that have, thus far, achieved low numbers of COVID-19 deaths and limited community transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. Finally, we highlight gaps in knowledge where research should be undertaken.

Can lessons learned from NTDs inform COVID-19 vaccine campaigns?

Stephanie Palmer
Act to End NTDs | West
Reflecting on the similarities got me thinking about how some of the lessons learned from MDA for NTDs could be applied to the COVID-19 vaccine response. Here are a few strategies used by Ministries of Health in the 11 West African countries that my program supports that are worth considering in the context of COVID-19 vaccine rollout campaigns.

Pandemic Proves Global Mental Health Can’t Be Ignored

Kashef Ijaz
The Carter Center
Global mental health has been called the “silent,” “parallel,” or “next” pandemic.

COVID-19 Sets Back Progress in Effort to Eliminate Neglected Tropical Diseases

Lisa Schlein
Voices of America
Over the past decade, the World Health Organization reports great progress has been made in the treatment of many of these life-threatening and debilitating diseases. It notes 42 countries around the world have eliminated at least one disease. However, Mwelecele Malecela, director of WHO’s department of control of neglected tropical diseases says she fears a lot of this good work could be undone because of the negative impact of COVID-19.


NOTE - Events may be postponed or cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please check with event organizers to confirm events.

The Faces of Global Health: Let’s Talk About Being Asian in Global Health
May 25, 2021
The Task Force for Global Health

LCNTDR webinar: Disease management, disability and inclusion: Why people-centred research is needed to beat NTDs
May 26, 2021

Save the date: Sustainability framework for action against neglected tropical diseases 2021-2030 Webinar
June 8, 2021

Rising to the challenge: A year of NTD programming and research during COVID
June 10, 2021
Neglected Tropical Disease NGO Network and the Coalition for Operational Research on Neglected Tropical Diseases

Topics in Infection 2021
June 18, 2021
The Royal Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene

Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting 2021 
June 20-26, 2021
The Commonwealth

World Field Epidemiology Day 
September 7, 2021
Training Programs in Epidemiology and Public Health Interventions Network

NTD NGO Network Conference 2021
September 7-9, 2021
Neglected Tropical Disease NGO Network

COR-NTD 2021 Virtual Meeting
November 8-10, 2021
Coalition for Operational Research on Neglected Tropical Diseases

American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene Annual Meeting
November 17-21, 2021
American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene

International Conference on Emerging Infectious Diseases
March 6-9, 2022
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

FREE ONLINE COURSE: Eliminating Trachoma
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine 

FREE ONLINE COURSE: Improving the Health of Women, Children and Adolescents: from Evidence to Action.
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine 

FREE ONLINE COURSE: Neglected tropical diseases in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic: impact and guidance
World Health Organization