Research to Solve Trachoma Elimination Challenges to Begin 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.

Lymphatic filariasis

Elephantiasis in India: Disfiguring disease caused by mosquito bite

Jigyasa Kakwani, Times of India

Dr. AP Dash, Vice Chancellor of the Asian Institute of Public Health (AIPH) in Bhubaneswar, explains that "the key strategy to eliminate LF as a public health problem includes: mass drug administration (MDA), morbidity management & disability prevention, and integrated vector management."

Mass Drug Administration is a key pillar of India's strategy for elimination of Lymphatic Filariasis. It is aimed not only at distributing but also ensuring consumption of medicines.


Enhancing onchocerciasis elimination program management: A biological approach to deciding when to begin Stop Mass Drug Administration activities

Daniel Boakye et al., PLOS

Understanding when it is the appropriate time to stop administering the drugs in a chemotherapy-centered treatment program such as onchocerciasis remains a challenge due to cost, imperfect testing procedures, and a lack of long-term experience. Different approaches for assessing when a program can begin the extensive stop-treatment surveys have been recommended, and tested, with varying results. We describe here a practical approach that is based on information on both transmission as well as infection. This new protocol first defines operational transmission zones (OTZs) based on vector breeding sites followed by an epidemiological assessment of the resident populations adjacent to these breeding sites. Basing decisions to stop MDA treatment based on breeding site locations (i.e., transmission zones) rather than on political administrative units, is a practical, cost-effective approach. Importantly, this biology-based approach is more closely related to the actual state of onchocerciasis transmission.


The Association Between Female Genital Schistosomiasis and Other Infections of the Lower Genital Tract in Adolescent Girls and Young Women: A Cross-Sectional Study in South Africa

Jilna Dilip Shukla et al., Journal of Lower Genital Tract Disease

This study aimed to explore the relationship between female genital schistosomiasis (FGS), sexually transmitted infections, bacterial vaginosis, and yeast among young women living in Schistosoma haematobium-endemic areas. In a cross-sectional study of young women, sexually active, aged 16 to 22 years in rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, in 32 randomly selected rural schools in schistosomiasis-endemic areas, the authors performed gynecological and laboratory investigations, diagnosed FGS and other infections, and did face-to-face interviews.

Assessing the prevalence of Female Genital Schistosomiasis and comparing the acceptability and performance of health worker-collected and self-collected cervical-vaginal swabs using PCR testing among women in North-Western Tanzania: The ShWAB study

Tamara Ursini et al., PLOS

Female Genital Schistosomiasis (FGS) is a neglected disease of the genital tract due to the inflammatory response to the presence of Schistosoma haematobium eggs in the genital tract. The WHO has prioritized the improvement of diagnostics for FGS and previous studies have explored the PCR-based detection of Schistosoma DNA on genital specimens, with encouraging results. This study aimed to determine the prevalence of FGS among women living in an endemic district in North-western Tanzania, using PCR on samples collected though cervical-vaginal swabs, and to compare the performance of self-collected and healthcare worker–collected (operator-collected) samples, and the acceptability of the different sampling methods.

Overcoming challenges to eliminate schistosomiasis in Central Sulawesi

Ajib Diptyanusa and Achmad Naufal Azhari, World Health Organization

Eliminating schistosomiasis in Indonesia is no easy feat. There are several challenges hindering progress, including lack of commitment from non-health ministries and local government offices, limited community-based activities, inadequate surveillance and diagnostic methods, and scarce access to medication for animal treatment. In addition, limited financial resources hampers programme implementation and sustainability.


Research to Solve Trachoma Elimination Challenges to Begin: 6 new grant recipients named


The Coalition for Operational Research is pleased to announce the recipients of six grants for Operational research on tailored endgame strategies for persistent and recrudescent active trachoma. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, trachoma is the world’s leading cause of preventable blindness of infectious origin. The target of global elimination of trachoma is achievable, but there are a small minority of districts, in a few countries, in which the treatment strategy has not achieved the elimination goal as expected.

QFFD teams up with Orbis to fight trachoma in Ethiopia

Gulf Times

Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD) has collaborated with international eye care charity Orbis to further cement their cooperation with the aim of supporting the elimination of trachoma, the world's leading cause of infectious blindness, and preventing the disease from spreading in Ethiopia.


Enhancing communication strategies in controlling neglected tropical diseases in Nigeria

Aishat Bisoye Durojaye et al., Public Health Challenges

Neglected tropical diseases (NTD), a broad set of infectious diseases prevalent in tropical and subtropical environments, are widely known to affect individuals with limited resources in underserved communities. Nigeria is one of the countries with the highest cases of NTD, with an estimated 100 million people in the country at risk for at least one NTD. In Nigeria, the NTD master plan recognizes behavioural change communication as an important part of its strategy for reducing the burden of NTDs. Behavioural change communication has been proven to be significant in preventing and reducing infection, spread and re-infection of diseases. However, poor communication strategies, lack of funds and human resources and lack of training on how to deliver behavioural change interventions are major challenges. Enhancing communication strategies will significantly help increase attention towards NTD prevention methods and acceptance of treatment interventions. It is also important to ensure that healthcare professionals are provided with adequate skills in the delivery of behavioural change interventions in the communities. This article reviews the activities to enhance communication strategies in the context settings of Nigeria.

‘A Woman’s Place’ Is Leading Your Country To Better Healthcare

Pelagie Boko-Collins,

I am looking at a photo from this May’s G7 Health Minister’s meeting in Japan. Aside from the fact that this group, discussing global health issues, contains just one representative from the entire African continent (remember more than one in five people on earth live here), one other thing jumps out: Of the eleven people standing on the stage, just one is a woman.

This isn’t surprising. While 70 percent of healthcare around the world is delivered by women (and 90 percent of frontline health work), we make up only a quarter of people in leadership and decision-making positions/roles.

Targeted insertion and reporter transgene activity at a gene safe harbor of the human blood fluke, Schistosoma mansoni

Wannaporn Ittiprasert et al., Science Direct

Functional genomics methods are needed to advance the study of helminth parasites, which cause neglected tropical diseases of significant global health burden. The motivation for this work was to develop a tractable method for transgenic studies of the human blood fluke, Schistosoma mansoni, by identifying genome safe harbor sites and demonstrating successful homology-directed transgene insertion.


Remembering Aryc Mosher: Global Health Advocate, LGBTQIA+ Activist, and A Friend to All


The Task Force for Global Health is mourning the loss of our dear friend and colleague Aryc Wesley Mosher, 56, Senior Trachoma Technical Advisor with USAID’s Neglected Tropical Disease Program. Mosher passed away unexpectedly on July 1.

Mosher was more than just a colleague or advisor, he was a true friend and a beacon of hope for those he served and worked alongside, the embodiment of service to others.

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