GPS Mapping, Scaling-up Lymphedema Management into Primary Care 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 credit: Samra Ashenafi; CDC

Lymphatic filariasis

Assessing the effects of disease-specific programs on health systems ...

Kimberly M. Koporc, David R. Hotchkiss, Charles F. Stoecker, Deborah A. McFarland and Thomas Carton, PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases

This study presents a methodology for using tracer indicators to measure the effects of disease-specific programs on national health systems. . . Using essential health service coverage rates as outcome measures, the Lymphatic Filariasis Elimination Program cannot be said to have strengthened or weakened the health system.

Scaling-up filariasis lymphoedema management into the primary health care ...

Suma T. Krishnasastry, Charles D. Mackenzie and Rajeev Sadanandan, Infectious Diseases of Poverty

Generalist health personnel, when appropriately trained, can provide quality lymphoedema care in public health settings and patients when provided services close to their home, are willing to access them. This is a feasible strategy for integrating long term care for LF patients into the national health system, and is a clear example of moving towards equity in health care for the medically underserved, and thus successfully addresses a major goal of the global program to eliminate lymphatic filariasis.


Mass drug administration targeting Onchocerca volvulus in Owabi catchment area in Ashanti Region, Ghana: Determinants of drug coverage and drug uptake.

Francis Adjei Osei et al., Parasite Epidemiology and Control

The main health system challenge was limited awareness creation regarding MDA. This seems to affect the optimal utilization of the ivermectin MDA intervention. MDA programmes against onchocerciasis eradication should be designed taking into account specific contextual factors to improve implementation outcomes.


Unlocking the secrets of a critical schistosomiasis drug

Science Daily

Independent teams from Texas Biomedical Research Institute and the Medical College of Wisconsin have published two papers in Science Translational Medicine identifying how the only approved drug to treat schistosomiasis, a widespread parasitic worm infection, works on the molecular level.

High prevalence of urinary schistosomiasis in a desert population ...

Wendelin Moser et al., Infectious Diseases of Poverty

This research revealed a high prevalence of urinary schistosomiasis in the population living around the lakes of Ounianga in the Sahara, a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) world heritage site in Chad. Despite the high public health importance of the associated morbidity expressed by the population, there is no access to diagnostics and treatment. Further work is needed to develop and test a context-adapted intervention.

Histone Deacetylase (HDAC) Inhibitors for the Treatment of Schistosomiasis

Ehab Ghazy, Mohamed Abdelsalam, Dina Robaa, Raymond J. Pierce and Wolfgang Sippl, Pharmaceuticals

Schistosomes display morphologically distinct stages during their life cycle and the transformations between stages are controlled by epigenetic mechanisms. The targeting of epigenetic actors might therefore represent the parasites’ Achilles’ heel. . . . In particular, advances in the development of inhibitors of Schistosoma mansoni histone deacetylase 8 have indicated that targeting this enzyme is a promising approach for the treatment of this infection.

Assessing the efficacy of an integrated intervention to create demand ...

Donaldson F. Conserve, Sekeleghe Kayuni, Moses K. Kumwenda, Kathryn L. Dovel and Augustine Talumba Choko, PLOS One

This is the first evaluation of an integrated HIV and schistosomiasis services intervention for fishermen, particularly investigating the effect of using social networks, HIVST kits and beach clinic services. 

Urban schistosomiasis: An ecological study describing a new challenge ...

Elainne Christine de Souza Gomes et al., Repositorio Institucional da Fiocruz

The disorderly urbanization process was directly related to the spatial distribution of STF and schistosomiasis cases, causing a new scenario where people became infected by walking on unpaved and flooded streets. Interpretation: Although we observed a decreasing in schistosomiasis cases and STF [schistosomiasis transmission foci], this NTD became a health problem related to urbanization in the study area. The challenge to overcome this new sort of transmission will require a greater understanding of the disorderly migration, spatial occupation, and degradation of the environment. 

GPS-based fine-scale mapping surveys for schistosomiasis assessment ...

Lydia Trippler et al., Infectious Diseases of Poverty

Our findings can guide the planning and implementation of future household-based mapping or longitudinal surveys and thus support micro-targeting and follow-up of interventions for schistosomiasis control and elimination in remote areas.

Malacological and Parasitological Surveys on Ethiopian Rift Valley Lakes ...

Beekam Kebede Olkeba et al., International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health

A malacological survey indicated that six morphologically distinguishable types of cercariae were found in snails. Infected snails with cercaria were more likely present in habitats with high five-day biological oxygen demand and low dissolved oxygen. The overall prevalence of Schistosoma mansoni infection among the fishermen at Ethiopian Rift Valley lakes was found to be 21.5%. This indicates that fishermen at Ethiopian Rift Valley lakes are one of the groups of people harboring schistosome cercariae which are potentially responsible for the transmission of schistosomiasis to lakeshore communities who have contact with lake water. Therefore, complementary medical treatment, public health interventions, environmental management and snail reduction are needed to control the transmission of schistosomiasis.

Soil-Transmitted Helminthiasis

Ecological risk factors of soil-transmitted helminths infections ...

Odunayo Emmanuel Oyewole and Iyabo Adepeju Simon-Oke, Bulletin of the National Research Centre

It is evident from the study that ecological factors played a significant role in the occurrence and abundance of soil-transmitted helminths. This research is important for predicting and monitoring soil-transmitted helminthiasis in endemic countries, and to devise effective control measures.


Key to Beating Neglected Tropical Diseases

Michael Kirumba, Development Diaries

This year something different happened. The big breakthrough came when the Ugandan Ministry of Health reached out to their counterparts in Kenya. The two governments then worked together to get all the necessary people and organisations to collaborate (health problems of this magnitude require all hands-on deck). In October, in a historic moment for trachoma elimination, the Ugandan and Kenyan governments with the support of the International Trachoma Initiative (ITI), successfully coordinated their trachoma drug distribution. For the first time people living on both sides all received their treatment at the same time, reducing the chance of migrating people missing out and then going on to reinfect others.


Safely resuming neglected tropical disease control activities during COVID-19: Perspectives from Nigeria and Guinea

Stephanie McKay et al., PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases

We sought perspectives from NTD control stakeholders at the subnational and national levels in Guinea and Nigeria regarding the process of planning and executing the resumption of NTD activities to identify challenges, opportunities, and recommendations that might be applicable both to other countries that have experienced disruptions to NTD control efforts during the pandemic and to increase the resilience of NTD programs in the face of future public health emergencies.

Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the diagnosis of leprosy in Brazil ...

Wandklebson Silvada Paza et al., The Lancet Regional Health - Americas

Along with COVID-19 spread there was a reduction in leprosy diagnosis in the general population and children under 15 years-old, and also an increase in multibacillary cases diagnosed, signaling a serious impact of the pandemic on leprosy control strategies in Brazil.


Listen: Tips for Writing a Winning Research Proposal


In this episode of The Last Mile podcast, you will:

  • Hear about the unique career journeys of Dr. Amuasi and Dr. Lammie and how they started working within the field of neglected tropical diseases   
  • Learn about the components of a good and bad research proposal 
  • “Peek behind the curtain” to see what happens when a batch of proposals are received for review
  • Learn how to frame the potential for negative research results
  • See how the work Dr. Amuasi and Dr. Lammie do contributes to the last mile of NTD elimination and control


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

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