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World Scabies Elimination Program Wins Macquarie50 Award & 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.  


The Institute and its partners are using a medication called ivermectin to address this disease. Providing a single round of the drug in a community can reduce the prevalence of scabies from 30 per cent to under 2 per cent within 12 months. Work is now taking place to develop a global strategy for scabies control.


Lymphatic filariasis

Progress towards lymphatic filariasis elimination in Ghana from 2000-2016: Analysis of microfilaria prevalence data from 430 com

Nana Kwadwo Biritwum et al.
PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Ghana started its national programme to eliminate lymphatic filariasis (LF) in 2000, with mass drug administration (MDA) with ivermectin and albendazole as main strategy. We review the progress towards elimination that was made by 2016 for all endemic districts of Ghana and analyze microfilaria (mf) prevalence from sentinel and spot-check sites in endemic districts.We reviewed district level data on the history of MDA and outcomes of transmission assessment surveys (TAS). We further collated and analyzed mf prevalence data from sentinel and spot-check sites.

Elimination of lymphatic filariasis still a challenge

Afshan Yasmeen
The Hindu (India)
Vector-borne diseases have gained significance in recent years with several States reporting a surge in malaria, dengue, chikungunya, etc., year after year. While there is awareness about these, not many know that lymphatic filariasis is another preventable vector-borne disease that needs to be tackled effectively to meet the Health Ministry’s target of eliminating it in India by 2020. . . According to Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), India still has over 2.3 crore people suffering with lifelong disability due to lymphatic filariasis (LF).

Living with the curse of elephantiasis

Nelly Bosire
Daily Nation (Kenya)
The Health ministry has a dedicated department of Neglected Tropical Diseases headed by one passionate Dr Sultani Matendechero. His team launched the preventive treatment programme in 2018 and have dedicated their energies to ensuring elephantiasis is eradicated in Kenya by 2020. Considering the high prevalence of the condition in Kenya, especially at the coastal region, these efforts must be fully supported by all. The next time you meet one of these patients, take a moment and show kindness. It goes a long way!


Buhari seeks support for health, education

Augustine Ehikioya
The Nation (Nigeria)
President Muhammadu Buhari, on Friday in Abuja. . . outlined on-going efforts of the Emeka Offor Foundation, in partnership with the Andrew Young Foundation, to supply millions of books to schools, ensure the complete eradication of polio, attack River Blindness with about 40 million afflicted mostly in the South-east and the South-south areas of the country and, in the near future, also start a campaign against cervical cancer, for which Nigeria holds a world record.

VIDEO: Jungle Airstrips Help Fight River Blindness

The Carter Center
Venezuela’s Ministry of Health and a coalition of partners led by the Carter Center's Onchocerciasis Elimination Program for the Americas (OEPA) have joined forces to deliver health education and the drug Mectizan®, donated by Merck, to indigenous Yanomami people at risk for river blindness (onchocerciasis), which causes unbearable itching and can lead to blindness. Helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft are sometimes the only way to reach communities deep in the jungle. Watch this video to see some of the challenges health teams face to reach the Yanomami and deliver essential medicine in the fight to eliminate river blindness.


Lessons from the eHealth Africa-Emory University Schistosomiasis Study

Tolulope Oginni and Emerald Awa-Agwu
eHealth Africa
In June and July, eHealth Africa partnered with Emory University on a study to compare three diagnostic methods to determine their effectiveness in detecting acute and chronic schistosomiasis in low-resource settings. Accurate diagnostics are crucial to yield more information about the disease and ultimately, to achieve the goal of eliminating the disease. One of the major challenges facing the elimination of schistosomiasis is that very few infected people present at the health facilities for treatment. This can be attributed to a myriad of reasons including stigma, insufficient medical services, affordability of medical services, low knowledge of the signs and symptoms of the infection, and local perceptions and myths about the disease. The wider effect of this passive case finding (that is, cases are discovered only when infected persons visit the health facilities for treatment) and poor health-seeking behavior is that there is inadequate data to support the prioritization of schistosomiasis control by decision-makers and health program planners. In addition, medical laboratory scientists and researchers are unable to make improvements to diagnostic procedures for schistosomiasis because very few patients visit health facilities to access treatment.

Soil-Transmitted Helminthiasis

Risk profiling of soil-transmitted helminth infection and estimated number of infected people in South Asia: A systematic review

Ying-Si Lai et al.
PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
In South Asia, hundreds of millions of people are infected with soil-transmitted helminths (Ascaris lumbricoides, hookworm, and Trichuris trichiura). However, high-resolution risk profiles and the estimated number of people infected have yet to be determined. In turn, such information will assist control programs to identify priority areas for allocation of scarce resource for the control of soil-transmitted helminth infection. We pursued a systematic review to identify prevalence surveys pertaining to soil-transmitted helminth infections in four mainland countries (i.e., Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Pakistan) of South Asia.

Parasitic worms infect dogs, humans

Flinders University environmental health researchers, with experts in the USA, have found a form of the soil-borne Strongyloides worm in faeces collected from dogs. Strongyloidiasis, carried by several kinds of Strongyloides spp., is estimated to infect up to 370 million people around the world, mainly in places with poor sanitation in developing or disadvantaged communities. . . "Much needs to be done if you consider the risk to older and younger residents of Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities in northern Australia who are at risk of infection," says Dr Ross, who has studied strongyloidiasis for many years.


Trachoma in Zambia: insights from the SAFE programme

Glenda Mulenga
DFID SAFE has supported Zambia to make significant strides towards eliminating trachoma as a public health issue. The programme, which ended in June 2019, has achieved some great milestones: more than 2,100 people have had sight-saving surgery and 2.9 million have been given antibiotics. Sanitation and hygiene practices in at-risk communities have improved following awareness campaigns that reached almost 850,000 people, including 53,000 school children.

The dangers of trachoma

Lydia Atieno
The New Times (Rwanda)
The types, Dr. Francis Kazungu, a general practitioner in Kigali, says include acute trachoma which is frequently found in children who are dirty, dusty and unhealthy. He says the condition manifests as painful eyes, swollen eyelids, watery discharge from the eyes and itching of the eyes with ear, nose, and throat infection. “It usually affects one eye and gradually spreads to the other,” he says. There is also recurring trachoma, where he says that if poor hygiene persists, the person gets affected again and again. Kazungu says there is also chronic trachoma, where it causes inward turning of the eyelid such that the eyelashes rub against the cornea. “Gradually, the symptoms persist and instead of resolving, lead to chronic trachoma and blindness between 30 to 40 years if left untreated,” he adds.


Neglected no more, 20 tropical diseases move closer to elimination

The ESPEN Partnership is credited with producing tremendous results to accelerate elimination of neglected tropical diseases by reaching communities never reached before with mass drug administration through improved supply chain management. The work has paid off. Togo announced elimination of lymphatic filariasis in 2017, while Ghana eliminated trachoma in 2018. Kenya became the 41st country in the WHO African Region to be certified free of Guinea worm disease. Leprosy has nearly been eliminated as a public health problem, and the continent is on track to eliminate human African trypanosomiasis by 2020.

How the world is winning the fight against neglected tropical diseases

Michael Barrett
New Statesman
In the early 2000s, frustrated by this, a group of prominent researchers in tropical medicine devised a strategy to change the landscape. David Molyneux and Alan Fenwick in the UK and Peter Hotez in the US classified a subset of these weird-sounding maladies under a single umbrella-term – the neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). I was at a small meeting with Molyneux at the British Medical Association one day in the mid-2000s when he launched into an impassioned tirade about our obligation to intervene. With only a few like-minded people in the room it seemed odd. However, David was honing his rhetoric to educate and inspire policy makers on much larger stages around the world.

Industry News: Supplying clean water to neglected tropical diseases endemic regions

Eisai Co., Ltd. has announced that it provides tanks to supply clean water for the neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) measures to the endemic regions in Kenya in collaboration with Merck. As part of its efforts to improve access to medicines, Eisai manufactures diethylcarbamazine (DEC) tablets, a treatment for a NTD named lymphatic filariasis (LF), at its Visag Plant in India and provides these DEC tablets free of charge to endemic countries through the World Health Organization (WHO) elimination program.

Meeting Report: Strategies to Identify Persistent Hotspots of Infection

Sarah Sullivan
NTD Support Center
The purpose of this 2-day meeting was to bring together statistical, epidemiological and disease-specific experts to explore and debate the different tools and approaches that might be used to identify focal areas of persistent infection in the context of disease elimination or surveillance. The ultimate goal of the meeting is to emerge with a more clearly defined set of program challenges related to the identification and delimitation of ‘hotspots’ and the accompanying sampling strategies that can be piloted through [operational research, or] OR to address these challenges.

WASH and Health working together: a ‘how to’ guide for NTD programmes

NTD NGO Network and the World Health Organization
This toolkit will help you work with the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) community, guiding you through building partnerships, mobilising resources, and designing, implementing and evaluating interventions. Rather than a ‘best practice’ guide, it’s a set of tools based on real-life programme experience; you can choose tools according to your needs and local context.


Macquarie 50th Anniversary Award Winners announced

According to data gathered by the Murdoch Children's Research Institute and its partners, scabies affects approximately 200 million people at any one time with about 450 million new cases every year. The condition can lead to severe skin infections and other fatal diseases, impacting the economic and social growth of communities globally. It affects children like Addisu, who developed scabies soon after starting school in Ethiopia. The debilitating condition made it impossible for him to write and sit during lessons and eventually forced him to leave school. Fortunately, he received treatment which cured his scabies and he was able to resume his education within a year. This story alone shows the life-changing impact treatment can have. The Institute and its partners are using a medication called ivermectin to address this disease. Providing a single round of the drug in a community can reduce the prevalence of scabies from 30 per cent to under 2 per cent within 12 months. Work is now taking place to develop a global strategy for scabies control.

Study: To Stop Mosquito-Transmitted Illnesses, Pay Attention to How Humans Behave

Andrea Schneibel and Hannah Browning
Tennessee Today
Targeting the mosquito population within a defined area is the primary way scientists and public health officials mitigate the spread of diseases caused by viruses like Zika, dengue fever, and West Nile. But researchers have discovered that evaluating how humans commute to and from an affected area, as well as their living habits, is key to successful mitigation planning, according to a study published in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases and coauthored by a UT professor.

Mosquito Repellent Wristband Use Rises Amid Increase in Mosquito-borne Diseases Globally

News18 (India)
A new study has been published by Stats and Reports with the title Global Mosquito Repellent Wristband which states that the mosquito repellent wristband market can grow into the most important market in the world. The mosquito repellent wristband market report is a study derived from qualitative and numerical analysis and includes various companies including PARA’KITO, iCooker, invisaband, CASELAST, Essential Oils, Eco Defense, Eco Defense. . . The demand of mosquito repellent wristbands has grown owing to the increasing occurrences of mosquito-borne diseases across several developing and developed countries across the world and consumer’s bent towards using products that are less harmful to both nature and consumer.

Rising Level of Water Contamination Drives Global Portable Water Purifier Market

John Castillo
Bee Tribune
The global portable water purifier market is primarily driven by the rising level of water contamination together with the need for clean and safe drinking water. Emerging trend of increased leisure trips and outdoor activities are sure to accelerate the expansion of the global portable water purifiers market. According to World Health Organization (WHO), 3.4 million people, mostly children, die every year from various water-borne diseases. Most of these deaths and illnesses could be avoided through inexpensive and simple measures. A case in point would be the prevalence of trachoma, which is the one of the leading causes of blindness. Blindness caused by trachoma is a preventable one and it accounts for 146 mn cases of acute blindness in the world. People living in those parts of the world where basic hygiene, sanitation, and water supply exist, however, do not know about this disease.


The Carter Center
Chad has reported 1,516 dogs and 21 cats with Guinea worm infections in January-July 2019, compared to 834 dogs and 18 cats in the same period of 2018. A 49-year-old woman from Cameroon observed a worm emerging from a large ulcerative wound on her lower right leg in March. As of the end of June 2019, Ethiopia hasn’t reported any new human cases of Guinea worm in 18 months (December 2017). Mali has reported no human cases of Guinea worm disease since November 2015. The South Sudan Guinea Worm Eradication Program has not detected any cases of Guinea worm disease in January-July 2019, compared to seven cases (one contained) reported during the same period of 2018.

New drugs for tuberculosis and ebola can help drive breakthroughs for many other threat

Jamie Bay Nishi
The Hill
U.S. support for what is often referred to as global health research and development (R&D) is helping stock the pipeline with new tools to fight an array of alarming threats. They include the rise of drug-resistant HIV and malaria, the spread of dengue fever, and the potential emergence of a pandemic strain of influenza — as well as less headline-grabbing challenges like river blindness and maternal and child mortality.

Upcoming Events

20th International Leprosy Congress
September 11-13, Manila, Philippines
The International Leprosy Association (ILA) once again presents its compliments to the Philippines authorities for accepting to host the 20th International Leprosy Congress (20th ILC). After "hidden challenges" in Brussels in 2013 and "unfinished business" in China in 2016, the 20th ILC definitely gives us the opportunity to turn to current challenges with ambition and realism.

Female Genital Schistosomiasis: Opportunities for Research
September 15, Liverpool, UK 
On Sunday, September 15, 2019, experts in neglected tropical diseases, HIV, gynecology, and related fields will convene for a meeting on female genital schistosomiasis (FGS). The aim of this meeting is to identify priority research questions regarding the measurement, treatment and control of FGS in order to guide the agenda of future operational research on this important, neglected gynecological disease. In addition, this one-day meeting will look at opportunities to engage with at-risk local communities, in-country gynecological services and HIV programs. 

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.

ECTMIH session: Schistosomiasis Control Through The Ages
September 17, Liverpool, UK 
The GSA Research working group have secured an organised session at the upcoming European Congress on Tropical Medicine and International Health conference in Liverpool this September. The GSA session, called Schistosomiasis Control Through the Ages, will present innovative research projects and findings on the impact and treament of schistosomiasis in specific age-groups and genders.

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.

World Rabies Day
September 28
September 28 is World Rabies Day, a global health observance started in 2007 to raise awareness about rabies and bring together partners to enhance prevention and control efforts worldwide. World Rabies Day is observed in many countries, including the United States.

East African Research in Progress 2019
September 26-28, Moshi, Tanzania
This is the third year we are running the East African Research in Progress meeting (EARIP) in association with the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), the East African Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and Kilimanjaro Christian Medical University College. This meeting is designed specifically for early career investigators to present their unpublished research in progress to peers and senior experts in all fields of tropical medicine and global health.

IAPB Council of Members 2019
October 5-6, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
With local office support from Sightsavers, IAPB is hosting the Council in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The Council will be from 7-8 October 2019, preceded by the IAPB Work Groups, Committees, and Board meetings on 5-6 October. The IAPB Council brings together world leaders in eye health and vision care to discuss issues relevant to the elimination of avoidable blindness and visual impairment globally. The meetings are also an opportunity to meet and discuss the latest in eye health with your peers.

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.

Triangle Global Health Annual Conference
October 16, Durham, NC
Join us for the 2019 Triangle Global Health Annual Conference on October 16 in Durham, North Carolina! Our 2019 theme is One Health: Creating our Shared Future. The program sessions will include a mix of speakers, panels, workshops, and poster sessions which showcase current One Health best practices and encourage attendees and presenters to engage around key issues impacting human, animal, and environmental health across a spectrum of application areas.  

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. 

International Conference on NTDs in Africa (IncoNTD)
December 4-6, Nairobi, Kenya
The 1st International conference on NTDs (IncoNTD) in Africa is being jointly organized with the 13th Kenya Ministry of Health and Kenya Medical Research Institute Annual NTD Conference from December 4 – 6, 2019 at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya. IncoNTD provides a unique opportunity for policy makers, implementers, researchers from different disciplines, students, funders and other NTD stakeholders who work on NTDs in Africa to come together under one forum to share their work and ideas in an organized fashion. Collaboration with the African Research Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases (ARNTD) through IncoNTD, provides an opportunity for synergy by raising the international profile of the 13th Kenya MoH and KEMRI Annual NTD Conference, while providing good traction for future iterations of IncoNTD.

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.