Establishing and Integrating a Female Genital Schistosomiasis Control Programme into the Existing Health Care System and other NTD News

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 Coalition for Operational Research on Neglected Tropical Diseases or the Neglected Tropical Diseases Support Center.

Photo: The path to success for uptake of new treatment among infants, SCI Foundation

Lymphatic filariasis

Samoa's Filariasis fight gets Japan aid

Shalveen Chand, Samoa Observer

Samoa’s fight to eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis or Elephantiasis gets underway next year with a planned Mass Drug Administration for the population and this was boosted with help from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) on Tuesday.

The filarial and the antibiotics: Single or combination therapy using antibiotics for filariasis

Fatima Amponsah Fordjour and Alexander Kwarteng, Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology

Although there is significant decrease in microfilariae (mf) prevalence following mass drug administration (IVM/DEC/ALB administration), this is transient, in that there is reported microfilaria repopulation 6-12 months after treatment. Wolbachia bacteria have been recommended as a novel target presenting antibiotic-based treatment for filarial disease. Potency of antibiotics against filarial diseases is undoubtful, however, the duration for treatment remains a hurdle yet to be overcome in filarial disease treatment.

Liberia: Public Health Institute launches Death to Onchocerciasis and Lymphatic Filariasis Project

Arthur Maes, Press Editorials

The National Public Health Institute of Liberia-NPHIL launches the Death to Onchocerciasis and Lymphatic Filariasis (DOLF) Project in Fouama District, Bong County. The project is a Clinical Research partnership between the Government of Liberia through the National Public Health Institute of Liberia-NPHIL, the Ministry of Health (MOH), and Washington University in St. Louis.


Onchocerciasis: Current knowledge and future goals

Luisa Frallonardo et al., Frontiers in Tropical Diseases

This review features state-of-the-art data on the parasite, its endobacteria Wolbachia, the prevalence of the infection and its geographical distribution, its diagnostics, the interaction between the parasite and its host, and the pathology of Onchocerciasis. By development and optimization of the control measures, transmission by the vector has been interrupted in foci of countries in the Americas (Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, and Guatemala) and in Sudan, followed by Onchocerciasis eliminations. The current state and future perspectives for vector control and elimination strategy are described.

Capgemini Develops News AI Solution to Advance the Treatment of River Blindness


A team of experts at Capgemini, in collaboration with University Hospital Bonn and Amazon Web Services, has developed an artificial intelligence (AI) model that will accelerate the speed of clinical trials aiming to establish new treatments for River Blindness, a neglected tropical disease which affects over 20 million people globally[1]. . . The India-based winning team developed a model which harnesses deep learning technology to identify the larvae worm that causes River Blindness, using images from existing clinical studies. In total, over 70,000 sections of clinical data were utilized to train the AI, leading to the creation of a model that can identify worm sections in microscopic images with almost 90% accuracy. The ability to automate such a high proportion of the required analysis will unlock the potential of faster and more consistent assessment of the efficacy of new drugs, which could save the eyesight of sufferers worldwide.  

UNIOSUN wins Bill & Melinda gates foundation $1.4m research grants

Lateef Dada, The Sun (Nigeria)

The Osun State University (UNIOSUN), has won a $1.4million Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation research grant for the entomological studies on black fly trapping and control in Nigeria.

Onchocerciasis in the Ntui Health District of Cameroon: epidemiological, entomological and parasitological findings in relation to elimination prospects

Joseph Nelson Siewe Fodjo et al., Parasites & Vectors

Despite substantial biting rates, black fly infection rates (by microscopy) in the Ntui Health District were rather low resulting in overall low transmission potentials in study villages. Thanks to CDTI [community-directed treatment with ivermectin], O. volvulus infection in both humans and insects is on the decrease. However, there is evidence that O. volvulus is still endemic in these communities. Reducing the vector population will further accelerate onchocerciasis elimination prospects.

Direct proteomic detection and prioritization of 19 onchocerciasis biomarker candidates in humans

Bruce A. Rosa et al., Molecular & Cellular Proteomics

Highlights: MS proteomics was performed directly on plasma and urine samples; Matched negative controls were used to reduce false positives; 19 novel O. volvulus biomarker candidates were identified and prioritized; Candidates were validated by isotope-labeled heavy peptides.

Identification of the onchocerciasis vector in the Kakoi-Koda focus of the Democratic Republic of Congo

Rory J. Post et al., PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases

Using classical morphological characteristics and DNA analysis we have unexpectedly identified the vector blackfly as Sdentulosum (and possibly Svorax) in a small endemic area (the Kakoi-Koda focus) which has been recently discovered on the western slopes of the rift valley in the Democratic Republic of Congo above Lake Albert. In the surrounding endemic areas, the vectors are Sdamnosum complex and/or Sneavei (as normally expected), and because Sdentulosum is not a vector in these surrounding areas, it follows that this focus is entomologically isolated from immigrant blackfly species which might otherwise have carried new infections into the Kakoi-Koda focus (and vice-versa). This is of local importance, because it makes elimination of the parasite easier, but our findings have wider significance across Africa, because they raise the possibility that under the right conditions, other common and widely-distributed blackfly species might unexpectedly become human-biters and significant vectors.


Establishing and Integrating a Female Genital Schistosomiasis Control Programme into the Existing Health Care System

Takalani Girly Nemungadi et al., Tropical Medicine and Infectious Disease

We analyze five actions for both a better understanding of the burden of FGS and reducing its prevalence in Africa, namely: (1) schistosomiasis prevention by establishing a formal control programme and increasing access to treatment, (2) introducing FGS screening, (3) providing knowledge to health care workers and communities, (4) vector control, and (5) water, sanitation, and hygiene. Schistosomiasis is focal in South Africa, with most localities moderately affected (prevalence between 10% and 50%), and some pockets that are high risk (more than 50% prevalence). However, in order to progress towards elimination, the five actions are yet to be implemented in addition to the current (and only) control strategy of case-by-case treatment. The main challenge that South Africa faces is a lack of access to WHO-accredited donated medication for mass drug administration. 

The new WHO guideline for control and elimination of human schistosomiasis: implications for the Schistosomiasis Elimination Programme in Nigeria

Akinola Stephen Oluwole et al., Infectious Diseases of Poverty

NSCHEP and stakeholders must meet and issue new policy documents to domesticate the implementation of the new WHO guideline with support from local WHO offices, WHO-AFRO/Nigeria. A critical dimension to consider is the raising of sufficient domestic funding, to fill potential gaps likely to emerge in the implementation of the new recommendations. This is particular apt in light of dwindling external funding for the national NTD programme.

The path to success for uptake of new treatment among infants

Ashley Preston, SCI Foundation

The PPC [Pediatric Praziquantel Consortium] and ADOPT partners will continue supporting the Ministry of Health to gather all the key information, from the different levels of the health system and the community, to be able to develop an effective advocacy and social mobilisation strategy. This will be used to support future delivery and access of the potential new treatment option in affected communities, once registered.

Soil-Transmitted Helminthiasis

Global prevalence of Ascaris infection in humans (2010–2021): a systematic review and meta-analysis

Celia Holland et al., Infectious Diseases of Poverty

Our findings indicate that, despite a renewed commitment by some communities or authorities to control ascariasis, a substantial portion of the world’s human population (> 0.7 billion) is infected with Ascaris. Despite the clinical and socioeconomic importance of ascariasis, many past routine surveys did not assess the intensity of Ascaris infection in people. We propose that the present findings might stimulate the development of customised strategies for the improved control and prevention of Ascaris infection worldwide.

FG inaugurates deworming campaign in C’ River

Nigerian News Direct

The Federal Government has launched the 2022 campaign against Soil Transmitted Helminthiasis or worms in Cross River. The campaign is a school based deworming exercise for children between ages five to 14 to complement the Home Grown School Feeding Programme, (NHGSEP).

Lagos targets 1.3 million school children for mass deworming in 10 councils

Governor Sanwo-Olu, The Guardian

Lagos State government, yesterday, commenced a free school-based deworming exercise to treat soil-transmitted helminthiasis (STH), targeting 1.3 million school-aged children between ages five and 14 years, who are at risk of parasitic worm infections in the state. The exercise, which is being implemented in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Health and a non-governmental organisation, Evidence Action, holds in 10 soil-transmitted helminthiasis endemic local councils, including Ajeromi/Ifelodun, Amuwo-Odofin, Apapa, Badagry, Epe, Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos Island, Lagos Mainland, Ojo and Somolu.

Ghana: GHS Begins Nationwide Deworming Exercise Among 1.9m Basic School Children

Abigaiil Annoh, All Africa

The Ghana Health Service (GHS)yesterday began a nationwide deworming exercise among basic school children to reduce the prevalence of intestinal parasitic infections in the country. The exercise, which would extend to December 9, 2022, targets about 1.9 million children from ages five to 14, in 89 selected districts across Ghana. On the theme; "Achieving Health Equity to End Schistosomiasis (bilharzia)", the mass drug administration against bilharzia (schistosomiasis) and soil-transmitted helminthiases (STH), is part of general efforts to eliminate neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) in the country.


Where should we offer mass drug administration for trachoma?

Jaki Adams, Sung Hye Kim and Anthony W Solomon, The Medical Journal of Australia

Elimination programs should be guided by the prevalence of markers of infection, not of disease.

Innovative solutions for environmental improvement and the elimination of trachoma as a public health problem

Giselle Moss, International Trachoma Control Initiative

Investment in facial cleanliness and environmental improvement have long lasting benefits, which is evidenced by the Islamic Republic of Iran being validated for eliminating trachoma as a public health problem despite no national trachoma program to deliver surgery and antibiotics, but only investment in clean water and sanitation among the country’s poorest communities. This World Toilet Day, we recognise the interconnectedness of environmental and human health, and recommit to delivering all components of the SAFE strategy, including the building of latrines, to enable healthy environments and healthy lives for all. 


122 Million Nigerians Suffering from River Blindness, Elephantisis and Other NTDs

Wale Akinselure, Nigerian Tribune

No fewer than 122million Nigerians are suffering from River blindness, Elephantiasis and 13 other neglected tropical diseases. River blindness (onchocerciasis), River blindness (lymphatic filariasis) are endemic in states of Southern Nigeria, especially among dwellers in rural areas, low-income earners, slums, and shanties. Meanwhile, trachoma is endemic in the Northern part of the country.


Guinea Worm Disease: A Neglected Diseases on the Verge of Eradication

Carmen Pellegrino et al., Tropical Medicine and Infectious Disease

This review features state-of-the-art data on the infection prevalence, geographical distribution, diagnostics, parasite–host interactions, and the pathology of dracunculiasis. Also described are the current state and future perspectives for vector control and elimination strategies.

Design and feasibility of an implementation strategy to address Chagas guidelines engagement focused on attending women of childbearing age and children at the primary healthcare level in Argentina: a pilot study

Karen Klein et al., BMC Primary Care

We developed a multifaceted implementation strategy including training, flowcharts and reminders, a register of suspected and confirmed cases, and the selection of a management facilitator. The pilot study took place between September 2019 and May 2020. The implementation level was heterogeneous and varied depending on the components, being the facilitating factors, the simplicity of the intervention, professionals’ willingness to expand the indication of serologic tests, and staff commitment to the adoption of intervention components. The main barriers found were the change of authorities at the local level, some professionals´ reluctance to administer etiological treat.

Understanding and tackling snakebite envenoming with transdisciplinary research

José María Gutiérrez et al., PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases

This innovative and participatory approach to designing and implementing research in the field of SBE aims to overcome the main cognitive challenge of research: integration at many levels. Using this transdisciplinary scheme, projects will be integrated into the local context, academic and non-academic actors will be involved in the co-design and execution of research, and the output will be inherently integrated in the fabric of science and society as a consequence of where it was undertaken. Translating research outcomes into thoughtful, evidence-based solutions implemented beyond the research project setting is only feasible because of the involvement of affected people as well as wider governing bodies that provide resources and support to implement the solution, as shown in Fig 1. Renewed work is needed in this area to explore the possibilities and challenges of this approach, which could be also applied to other diseases. 

Knowledge and Attitude of First-Aid Treatments for Snakebites, and the Perception of Snakes among the Students of Health Sciences at Jazan University, Saudi Arabia

Saad S. Alqahtani et al., Healthcare

Overall, the students had a positive attitude towards first aid but lacked knowledge of snakebite emergencies. Public health awareness is required to dispel first-aid myths about snakebites and misconceptions regarding snakes.

How wearing shoes could eliminate one of the world’s most neglected tropical diseases

Fred Harter, The Guardian

Podoconiosis is a painful, disfiguring condition, yet it’s astonishingly simple to prevent and treat – as a project in southern Ethiopia shows. Until recently, there was just one project dedicated to helping people in Ethiopia with podoconiosis. Today, there are more, but in most parts of the country the disease still goes untreated. Podoconiosis appears in few medical textbooks or on university curriculums, and as a result often confounds health workers.“ If you ask a physician in Addis Ababa [the capital], most likely they will not know anything about podoconiosis,” says Wendemagegn Enbiale, a professor in dermatovenerology at Bahir Dar University. “When I ask patients, ‘Why didn’t you go to a health facility for help?’ most of the time they say that someone has told them there is no treatment,” he says. 

#TraeTuChipo: citizen science for the surveillance of Chagas disease

Karina Mondragon-Shem, BMC BugBitten

This neglected disease remains a public health issue in many countries, including Venezuela. One project aims to provide real-time information on the distribution of triatomines using the help of Venezuelans to keep an eye out for the bugs around them.

2023 Health and Humanitarian Supply Chain Management Certificate Program


HSCM is designed for practitioners in a variety of organizations, including governmental and non-governmental organizations and the private sector who are active participants in #health and #humanitarian systems, including #disasterpreparedness and response, long-term development, and #publichealth. A limited number of scholarships are available thanks to the generous support of the UPS FOUNDATION. The deadline to apply is December 31, 2022.

Mosquitoes and Mosquito-Borne Diseases in Vietnam

Ly Na Huynh et al., Insects

This review paper aims to (i) provide a complete checklist of Vietnamese mosquitoes, (ii) provide an overview of mosquito-borne diseases in Vietnam, and (iii) preventive measures for mosquitoes in Vietnam. We list 281 mosquito species, belonging to 42 subgenera of 22 genera. We found that three genera, namely, Anopheles, Aedes, and Culex are found to be potential vectors for mosquito-borne diseases in Vietnam. We found dengue and malaria are the most common mosquito-borne diseases in Vietnam with about 320,702 cases and 54 deaths in the 2019 outbreak and 4548 clinical cases and six deaths, respectively. We suggest that mosquito-borne diseases could be effectively controlled and prevented through mechanical, chemical, biological, and genetic methods.

Pan American Health Organization, the Task Force for Global Health and the Coalition for Operational Research on Neglected Tropical Disease commit to eliminate diseases


Based on the successful background of elimination achievements reached by countries in America's region and understanding the need for innovation and strong leadership to move forward, in 2019, PAHO and member states approved the CD57/R7: PAHO disease elimination initiative. This marked the creation of a policy for an integrated sustainable approach to communicable diseases in the Americas. Following up to this important landmark, in 2019, PAHO created the Strategic and Technical Advisory Group on Disease Elimination (STAG DE), with the main purpose of having an external body of experts assessing PAHO to determine the best way to launch and monitor this public health effort. After the difficult times imposed by the protracted COVID-19 pandemic, PAHO is eager to re- energize the elimination initiative and will start by convening a second STAG DE meeting, to brief its members and ask for new recommendations. 

Efficacy and safety of acoziborole in patients with human African trypanosomiasis caused by Trypanosoma brucei gambiense: a multicentre, open-label, single-arm, phase 2/3 trial

Victor Kande Betu Kumeso et al., The Lancet Infectious Diseases

Given the high efficacy and favourable safety profile, acoziborole holds promise in the efforts to reach the WHO goal of interrupting HAT transmission by 2030.


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