See Oncho Gone-Launching the Global Onchocerciasis Network for Elimination 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: Eliminating Disease by Night; Oscar Siagian/RTI International

Lymphatic filariasis

Eliminating Disease by Night

USAID Act to End NTDs | East Program, Exposure

This was no ordinary survey. The teams were there to draw blood from Murin and his family as they surveyed the area for the presence of lymphatic filariasis (LF), a neglected tropical disease (NTD) spread by mosquitoes. Left unchecked, it can lead to extreme swelling of the legs and other body parts — a condition known as elephantiasis. LF is endemic in Melawi and 236 other districts in Indonesia, the world’s largest island nation and fourth most populous country.


Uganda Sees River Blindness Fading Away

Edridah Muheki Tukahebwa and Sharone Backers, Medium

Recently, Uganda’s Ministry of Health announced that active, ongoing transmission of river blindness appears to have ceased nationwide for the first time. “Their blueprint for elimination using intensified treatment, advanced monitoring and evaluation, and national ownership has become a model for success in the region and is being replicated in numerous other countries,” he [Senior Scientific Advisor Darin Evans with USAID’s Neglected Tropical Diseases Division] said.


Global Onchocerciasis Network for Elimination (GONE), COR-NTD

To address challenges, opportunities and move forward with critical actions, the WHO, member states and partners have established the new Global Onchocerciasis Network for Elimination (GONE) to strengthen partnerships and communication and to assist member states with achieving the 2030 Road map’s onchocerciasis elimination goals. WATCH THE VIDEO LAUNCH. 

Carter Center Congratulates Nigeria for Interrupting River Blindness in Several States

Emily Staub, The Carter Center

The Carter Center congratulated the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Health today for stopping river blindness transmission in four of the country’s 36 states, protecting 18.9 million people from the second-leading infectious cause of blindness. The public health triumph — the largest stop-treatment decision in the history of the global river blindness campaign — was announced today in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, following World Neglected Tropical Diseases Day Jan. 30.

Fed Govt eliminates river blindness transmission in Imo, Abia, two others

Moses Emorinken, The Nation (Nigeria)

The Federal Government has announced that it has achieved the criteria to stop treatment for onchocerciasis (river blindness) in four additional states, namely: Imo, Abia, Enugu, and Anambra.


Intestinal schistosomiasis among secondary school students in Northern Tanzania: prevalence, infection intensity and associated risk factors

Lilian G Samweli et al., IJID Regions

Among assessed factors, being in form II or III, visiting water sources and doing activities in water sources were statistically significantly associated with increased risk of S. mansoni transmission. . . There is ongoing transmission of intestinal schistosomiasis among secondary students. Hence, the need for extending praziquantel administration in this group, health education provision, and improvement of water supply, sanitation and hygienic practices.

Screening of Schistosomiasis, Strongyloidiasis and Sexually Transmitted Infections in Nigerian Female Sex Workers Living in Rome

Rosalia Marrone et al., Pathogens

Our study shows a low prevalence of STIs in Nigerian FSWs except for Hepatitis B and a higher prevalence of schistosomiasis and strongyloidiasis.

Preparation of polyclonal anti-Schistosoma mansoni cysteine protease antibodies for early diagnosis

Alyaa Farid, Biotechnological Products and Process Engineering

The study aimed to produce polyclonal antibodies (pAbs) against schistosomal cysteine proteases (CP) to be used in the diagnosis of schistosomiasis. . . The prepared pAb succeeded in detecting CP antigens in stool and serum samples of S. mansoni-infected patients by sandwich ELISA with a sensitivity of 98.5% and 98.0% respectively. A positive correlation was observed between S. mansoni egg counts and both stool and serum antigen concentrations. Purified 27.5 kDa CP could be introduced as a suitable candidate antigen for early immunodiagnosis using sandwich ELISA for antigen detection.

Urogenital schistosomiasis (UGS) and female genital schistosomiasis (FGS) in Cameroon: an observational assessment of key reproductive health determinants of girls and women in the Matta Health Area

Christine Masong Makia et al., BMJ Open

Lower abdominal pain (LAP), menstrual irregularity (MI), coital pain (CP) and vaginal itches (VI) are the potential SRH [sexual and reproductive health] indicators that could be exploited in future for targeting of praziquantel provision to FGS sufferers within primary care, complementary with existing praziquantel distribution for UGS sufferers in Schistosoma haematobium endemic areas.

Launch of DUALSAVE Female Genital Schistosomiasis Research Programme

Nombuso Dlamini, University of Kwazulu-Natal

UKZN’s Department of Public Health Medicine has launched a research programme - the DUALSAVE Female Genital Schistosomiasis (FGS) project - which will allow researchers to test an innovative new tool. The tool is a portable, advanced but low-cost spectral camera that uses dual screening through spectral artificial visual examination to obtain a precise diagnosis of FGS, a disease - also known as bilharzia - which causes damage to female reproductive organs.

Soil-Transmitted Helminthiasis

A Post-Lockdown Assessment of Albendazole Treatment Coverage in Mass Drug Administration Campaigns Implemented Before and During COVID-19 Pandemic in Ekiti, Southwest Nigeria

Hammed O. Mogaji et al., International Journal of Public Health

In 2019, the medicine reach was between 42.2%–57.8%, however, during the pandemic, the reach significantly reduced to 12.3%–18.6%, and increased to 28.5%–35.2% in 2021 (p < 0.000). About 19.6%–27.2% of the participants have missed 1 MDA, while 26.9%–37.8% and 22.4%–32.8% have missed 2 and 3 MDAs, respectively. The majority who did not receive ALB (60.8%–75%) claimed drug distributors never came, while about 14.9%–20.3% mentioned they did not hear about MDA. However, individual compliance towards swallowing was above 94% across the study years (p < 0.00). These results highlight the need to explore the perceptions of those who have consistently missed MDAs, and also understand the health-system-related issues including those imposed by the pandemic affecting MDA.


A Billion Doses Delivered: 3 Lessons from the Fight Against Trachoma


“We scaled up the production and shipment of the antibiotic to more countries,” Jenson says, and volunteers were redistributed to areas most in need. Because of this data-driven action, “we’re on the downward slope to elimination,” she says.

Cost and community acceptability of enhanced antibiotic distribution approaches for trachoma in the Republic of South Sudan: enhancing the A in SAFE (ETAS) study protocol

Angelia M. Sanders et al., BMC Ophthalmology

The Enhancing the A in SAFE (ETAS) study is a community randomized intervention costing and community acceptability study.  . . ETAS has received ethical clearance and is expected to be conducted between 2022 and 2023. Results will be shared through subsequent manuscripts. The study’s results will provide information to trachoma programs on whether enhanced interventions are affordable and acceptable to communities. These results will further help in the design of future trachoma-specific antibiotic efficacy trials. Enhanced MDA approaches could help countries recover from delays caused by conflict or humanitarian emergencies and could also assist countries such as South Sudan in reaching trachoma elimination as a public health problem by 2030.

Exploring water, sanitation, and hygiene coverage targets for reaching and sustaining trachoma elimination: G-computation analysis

Kristin M. Sullivan et al., PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases

Our findings provide evidence-based insight into potential WaSH coverage targets that could be hypothesized to achieve meaningful reductions in trachoma prevalence. We found that in areas working to reach trachoma elimination targets, increasing face-washing water and latrine use coverages to a minimum of ≥30% were consistently associated with (modelled) reductions in active trachoma prevalence. However, in areas that had already met trachoma elimination targets, we did not see the same pattern. This finding supports our theory that the WaSH-trachoma relationship differs in these areas and suggests a need for additional research to explore these relationships. Our estimates can be used to inform programmatic WaSH targets and future field trials.

World NTDs: Yobe Performs 10,508 Cataract, Trachoma Surgeries

Aliyu Musa, Leadership (Nigeria)

Concerned over the impact of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) on the health and the economy of the people, the Yobe State Primary Healthcare Board in collaboration with other partners have successfully carried out 1, 170 cataract surgeries across various centres in the state.


Bringing Neglected Tropical Diseases out of the Silo

Simon Bland, Health Policy Watch

The number of people requiring treatment for Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) decreased from 2.19 to 1.65 billion between 2010 and 2021 – an impressive 25 percent decline. However, interlinked challenges, including the COVID pandemic and, now, accelerating patterns of climate change are putting this progress at risk.  On World NTD Day, we need to recognise these emerging challenges and look to more integrated approaches.

Nyong’o Calls For Allocation Of Funds To Deal With NTDs

Ojwang Joe, Capital News

The Governor called for observation of proper sanitation and hygiene practices at the family level in order to break the chain of transmission of NTDs. . . Speaking in Kisumu on Monday in Rabuor health center in Nyando Sub County during the marking of the national NTDs, Nyong’o announced that five counties within the lake basin will benefit from a study on the burden of NTDs in the region.

World NTD Day: WHO releases new Global report on neglected tropical diseases 2023

Newsd (India)

Today, on World Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD) Day, the World Health Organization (WHO) releases a new progress report titled “Global report on neglected tropical diseases 2023” highlighting the progress and challenges in delivering NTD care globally, in the context of COVID-19-related disruptions. NTDs continue to disproportionately affect the poorest sections of the global society, particularly in regions with inadequate water safety, sanitation, and health care access. Even though 179 nations and territories reported at least one case of NTDs in 2021, 16 countries were responsible for 80% of the worldwide NTD burden. An estimated 1.65 billion people worldwide require treatment for at least one NTD. The current progress report indicates that the number of persons seeking interventions for NTDs decreased by 80 million between 2020 and 2021, and that eight countries were recognised or validated as having eliminated one NTD in 2022 alone. As of December 2022, 47 nations had eliminated at least one NTD, with other nations en route to achieving this goal.

UAE lights up in support of World Neglected Tropical Diseases Day 2023

Gulf News

Seventeen buildings and structures across Abu Dhabi and Dubai lit up in a wave of orange and purple – the official colours of World NTD Day – to help raise awareness of the cause, and to reaffirm the UAE’s commitment to stamping out these devastating diseases.

Reaching the Last Mile and Speak Up Africa launch initiative to mobilize youth leaders in support of efforts to eliminate neglected tropical diseases (NTDS) in Africa

The Guardian

Reaching the Last Mile, a portfolio of global health programs driven by the philanthropy of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, today announced the launch of a new initiative designed to mobilize young people to lead efforts to eliminate neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) in Africa. 

The youth leadership initiative seeks to build a network of youth-led organizations committed to ending NTDs within their communities and countries through national-level advocacy, action, and leadership engagement. Participants in the program will receive funding, mentorship, and resources to support them to engage effectively in decision- and policymaking spaces, and to drive forward their efforts to champion change in their communities.  

Over 65 African researchers have received more than $1.5m for NTD research

Dr. Neta Parsram, My Joy Online

Over 65 researchers from 16 countries have received 1.5 million dollars in funding through the African Researchers’ Small Grants Program (SGP) for research on Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs). The event, themed Act Now, Act Together – Investing in Young African Research marked the successful implementation of the African Researchers Small Grant Program over the past 5 years and showcased some awardees, their research and how it is making positive impact on the NTD landscape in Africa. Dr. Amuasi was excited that more than a third of the close to 300 applications received for the 6th cohort had qualified for full reviews with winners anticipated to be announced soon. 

Nasarawa govt. treated 167,597 neglected tropical diseases patients in 2022: Commissioner

People's Gazette

Ahmed Baba-Yahaya, Nasarawa State Commissioner for Health, says the state government treated 167,597 people with neglected tropical diseases (NTD) related cases in 2022.

Nanobody Technology and New Molecular Biology Methods to Advance Rapid Diagnostic Test for Neglected Tropical Diseases

Andrés Álvarez-Rodríguez, Magdalena Radwanska, Stefan Magez and Steven Odongo, InTech Open

Here, we reviewed conventional diagnostics for NTDs as well as their RDT translated formats, and explored nanobodies (Nbs) as alternative reagents for the development of the RDTs.

WASH and health working together: a ‘how-to’ guide for neglected tropical disease programmes, second edition


This toolkit provides step-by-step guidance to NTD programme managers and partners on how to engage and work collaboratively with the WASH community to improve delivery of water, sanitation and hygiene services to underserved population affected by many neglected tropical diseases. The toolkit draws on tools and practices used in the delivery of coordinated and integrated programmes for control, elimination and eradication of NTDs. This second edition include revisions and new tools based on experiences of using the toolkit in more than 20 countries. 

Rising burden of neglected tropical diseases sparks alarm

Elizabeth Ojina, Nation (Kenya)

Kenya has reported 16 of the 20 listed NTDs. .  . The Ministry of Health has sounded an alarm over the rising burden of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) in the country. This is even as latest data show that more than 25 million people suffer from NTDs despite Kenya’s efforts to eradicate the illnesses.


Cytotoxic and Antileishmanial Effects of the Monoterpene β-Ocimene

Julyanne Maria Saraiva de Sousa et al., Pharmaceuticals

Our results suggest that β-ocimene possesses promising in vitro antileishmania activity and is a potential candidate for investigation in in vivo assays.

Epoxy-α-lapachone (2,2-Dimethyl-3,4-dihydro-spiro[2H-naphtho[2,3-b]pyran-10,2′-oxirane]-5(10H)-one): a promising molecule to control infections caused by protozoan parasites

Juliana Figueiredo Peixoto et al., The Brazilian Journal of Infectious Diseases

The biological activity of ELAP [epoxy-α-lapachone] has been demonstrated, so far, for parasitic protozoa such as Leishmania spp., Trypanosoma cruzi and Plasmodium spp., species causing diseases needing new drug development and adequate health policy. This work gathers in vitro and in vivo studies on these parasites, as well as the toxicity profile, and the probable mechanisms of action elucidated until then. The potential of ELAP-based technology alternatives for a further drug is discussed here.

Bauchi govt inaugurates snake bite treatment center

Rabi'u Sani Ali, Nan News

The Bauchi State Government said it would soon commence treatment for victims of snake bite at Duguri treatment center in Alkaleri Local Government Area of the state. . . "The agency also has to procure the anti-venom which will be handed over to ward development committee (WDC) as revolving drugs. The present administration is concerned over the burden of snake bites, especially in Duguri community,” he added.

Life after leprosy, a long neglected disease

Daniel Lawler and Marie-Morgane Le Moel, Japan Today

The WHO provides MDT to patients worldwide for free, with Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis donating doses since 2000. However, there has been little progress for new treatments.. . Alexandra Aubry, a specialist at the Center for Immunology and Infectious Diseases in France, evaluates whether every new antibiotic developed for other illnesses could also be used for leprosy. But he added that there is something everyone can do for World Leprosy Day on Sunday -- stop using the word "leper". We call it the 'L word'," Duck said, describing it as discriminatory. "It's a little step that most people can do to give people affected by leprosy the dignity they deserve".

Digitizing Supply Chains—Down to the Last Mile—to End Neglected Tropical Diseases

Carla Johnson and Gesa Pellier, Think Global Health

One of the most critical weaknesses in NTD supply chains is the lack of transparency and coordination between various stakeholders who procure, manufacture, and transport medicines.  . . This means medicines don't always reach patients on time. The uncertainty makes it challenging to plan and implement NTD programs. Today, it's possible to digitally track donated NTD medicines only to the point where they enter the destination country. The NTD Supply Chain Forum, a global public-private partnership, has taken steps to address this problem. In 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) and pharmaceutical donors joined the Forum's technology platform, called NTDeliver, to track where NTD medicines are in the supply chain and transparently share that information. 

Longstanding WHO partners to enter into official relations with the Organization


WHO’s Executive Board today welcomed The Carter Center, Inc. and the NCD Alliance into official relations with WHO. The new status, to be ratified at the World Health Assembly in May, enables these valued partner organizations to engage more directly with WHO processes; they may participate at sessions of WHO governing bodies, propose agenda items and organize side events as a non-State actor.

The demise of the Guinea worm

Hilary Hurd, Bug Bitten

In January this year, the Carter Foundation announced that in 2022 annual cases of Guinea worm disease reached an all-time low. Following the report of 15 cases worldwide in 2021, only 13 human cases of Guinea worm disease were reported in 2022, six in Chad, five in South Sudan, one in Ethiopia and one in the Central African Republic, pushing the disease nearer to extinction.

Nigeria: Noma Takes Step Towards Inclusion on WHO List of Neglected Tropical Diseases

All Africa

After a three-year international advocacy and communication campaign, a representative from the Federal Ministry of Health of Nigeria shared the dossier on noma with WHO offices in Abuja, Brazzaville and Geneva in January 2023. MSF [Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders] supported Nigeria in finalising the dossier and engaging with the co-sponsors, which include 30 countries from five WHO regions. . . The WHO will take the final decision on whether to add noma to its list of neglected tropical diseases during one of its biannual meetings in 2023.