Welcome the New WHO NTD Director 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: Dr. Socé Fall, World Health Organization

Lymphatic filariasis

Bangladesh nears elimination of neglected tropical disease, ensures no one left behind

Molly Brady and Alexis Serna, RTI

To receive the World Health Organization’s (WHO) stamp of approval for elimination as a public health problem, Bangladesh must eliminate the disease and ensure that health services are available to support individuals already impacted by LF in managing symptoms, such as the pain and inflammation caused by the disease and related secondary infections. . . The latest iteration of USAID’s support – the Act to End NTDs | East Program – has helped Bangladesh assess its readiness to manage ongoing LF cases through a nationwide survey of health facilities. While Bangladesh may no longer have new cases, individuals impacted by the disease in the past will still need ongoing support and care. The survey demonstrated that the health system has the capacity to provide high quality LF care beyond elimination.

Elephantiasis still a concern in Baglung

Prakash Baral, The Kathmandu Post

Irregularity in prescribed drugs intake is a main reason it is still prevalent in the district, say health officials.


Two Nigerian States (Plateau and Nasarawa) Have Eliminated Transmission of Human Onchocerciasis—A Report of Post-ivermectin Mass Drug Administration Surveillance

Emmanuel S. Miri et al., The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene

Transmission of Onchocerca volvulus (causing “river blindness”) was interrupted in two states of Nigeria (Plateau and Nasarawa) in 2017 in accordance with 2016 WHO guidelines. Ivermectin mass drug administration was halted in January 2018, and posttreatment surveillance activities were conducted over a 3-year period. Vector Simulium damnosum s.l. flies were collected during the 2019 (39 sites) and 2020 (42 sites) transmission seasons. Head pools were tested by polymerase chain reaction for the presence of third-stage O. volvulus larvae; 15,585 flies were all negative, demonstrating an infective rate of < 1/2,000 with 95% confidence. In 2021, the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Health declared the two-state area as having eliminated transmission. Plateau and Nasarawa states are the first of 30 endemic states in Nigeria to have met the WHO criteria for onchocerciasis elimination. Post-elimination surveillance will need to continue given the risk of reintroduction of transmission from neighboring states.


European Medicines Agency Validates Application for Arpraziquantel to Treat Schistosomiasis in Preschool-Aged Children

Daniela Bonora, Pediatric Praziquantel Consortium

Today, the Pediatric Praziquantel Consortium announced that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has validated for review the application for arpraziquantel for the treatment of schistosomiasis in preschool-aged children (3 months to 6 years of age). With this validation, the regulatory application for arpraziquantel is complete and EMA will now begin the scientific review process.

Schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminthiases: progress report, 2021

World Health Organization

In February 2022, WHO issued a new guideline for the control and elimination of human schistosomiasis.2 WHO recommends an integrated approach, combining extension of PC to all people at risk from 2 years of age in communities with a ≥10% prevalence, treatment in health facilities, snail control and WASH to control and eliminate schistosomiasis as a public health problem. The availability of praziquantel in health facilities and treatment of all infected individuals is also recommended. The number of people treated in health facilities should be reported separately from PC. The guideline also provides recommendations on verification of the interruption of schistosomiasis transmission.

Improving the Response of Health Systems to Female Genital Schistosomiasis in Endemic Countries through a Gender-Sensitive Human Rights-Based Framework

Carol Vlassoff et al., Diseases

Within the different components or building blocks of the health system, we propose elements of an appropriate health system response using the four components identified within the FGS Accelerated Scale Together (FAST) Package—awareness raising, prevention of infection, training of health personnel, and diagnosis and treatment.

Soil-Transmitted Helminthiasis

Policy stakeholder perspectives on barriers and facilitators to launching a community-wide mass drug administration program for soil-transmitted helminths

Amy Roll et al., Global Health Research and Policy

Recent evidence suggests that soil-transmitted helminth (STH) transmission interruption may be feasible through community-wide mass drug administration (cMDA) that deworms community members of all ages. A change from school-based deworming to cMDA will require reconfiguring of STH programs in endemic countries. We conducted formative qualitative research in Benin, India, and Malawi to identify barriers and facilitators to successfully launching a cMDA program from the policy-stakeholder perspective.

Integrated survey of helminthic neglected tropical diseases and comparison of two mosquito sampling methods for lymphatic filariasis molecular xenomonitoring in the River Galana area, Kilifi County, coastal Kenya

Sammy M. Njenga et al., PLOS One

This study demonstrated that integrated epidemiological surveys using standard parasitological and entomological methods can provide useful information on co-endemic parasitic diseases which could help direct interventions and surveillance activities.

The accuracy of nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs) in detecting human intestinal nematode infections: A protocol for a systematic review and meta-analysis

Nalini Kaushalya Jayakody et al., PLOS One

The objective of this review is to determine the accuracy of NAATs in detecting human intestinal nematode infections using Kato-Katz as the reference test for the most common soil-transmitted helminth (STH) infections and the scotch tape test for enterobiasis and Baermann method for strongyloidiasis. 


A Bug Expert Is Helping Save Millions of People’s Sight in Benin, Alongside Global Citizen’s Actions

Camille May, Global Citizen

“In Benin, we have validated the elimination of one neglected tropical disease [Human African trypanosomiasis, or sleeping sickness] and are now on track for the second in the neglected tropical disease elimination,” Boko-Collins told Global Citizen in November. “When we compare the results of the efforts made over the last decades, considerable progress has been made.” Today she leads teams across Togo and Benin, working with communities to help deliver life-changing surgery, and equip health systems to fight blindness-causing diseases like trachoma, one of 20 NTDs that exist largely in tropical areas, and affect almost 1.7 billion people living in poverty.

Mass azithromycin, geographic proximity linked to reduced ocular chlamydia

Chris Dall, University of Minnesota

The results of a randomized clinical trial in Ethiopia suggest mass azithromycin distribution to wide, contiguous areas may reduce the likelihood of the infection that causes trachoma, researchers reported today in Clinical Infectious Diseases.

“We’re playing a critical role to banish trachoma”


Since 2012, Sightsavers and partners have been using smartphones to collect high-quality data, so that countries can effectively map the disease and focus their elimination efforts.

Prevalence of Trachoma in Benishangul Gumuz Region, Ethiopia, after Implementation of the SAFE Strategy: Results of Four Population-Based Surveys

Belete Mengistu et al., Ophthalmic Epidemiology

Surgical interventions for TT are required in all EUs in BGZ. One annual round of mass drug administration (MDA) of azithromycin is required in one EU before resurvey to reassess progress in lowering TF prevalence below the WHO elimination threshold of 5% in 1–9-year-olds. MDA should be stopped in the other three EUs and trachoma surveillance surveys should be conducted at least 24 months after the surveys described here. Ongoing strengthening of WaSH infrastructure may help sustain the low prevalence of trachoma.


Welcome Dr. Socé Fall

World Health Organization

Welcome Dr. Socé FALL, the new World Health Organization Director for NTDs to continue leading and driving the NTD agenda in line with WHO’s new road map for 2021 – 2030 towards attaining the Sustainable Developmental Goals

Call for public consultation: Qualitative assessment of dimensions of the road map for neglected tropical diseases

World Health Organization

Since the initial assessment, the methodology has been improved by the Working Group on Monitoring, Evaluation and Research for NTDs, to ensure engagement with country programmes, standardization and objectivity. Changes include clarified criteria for assigning colour rankings, a revised implementation process to increase endemic country input, and an additional round of dialogue at managerial level analysing each dimension across all diseases to identify actions with impact for multiple diseases. The refined Tool, known as the Gap Assessment Tool (GAT), is now ready to conduct a second assessment of all NTDs, focusing on the four dimensions prioritized in the road map. . . This public consultation seeks your perceptions on the status of progress along these four dimensions for all 20 NTDs. 

Leprosy Research Initiative calls for proposals

Leprosy Research Initiative

Leprosy Research Initiative (LRI) is pleased to announce our two(!) calls for proposals. The application portal is now open! The deadline for submission for both calls is January 27th, 2023 at 23:59 (CET), so make sure to submit your Letter of Intent timely.

Trends and geographical variation in leprosy case detection and disability in Nepal, 2010–2021

Anneke T. Taal et al., Leprosy Review

This study shows that the leprosy problem is still current in Nepal. Geographic variations in case detection and disability indicators are seen best when mapping at ward level. Leprosy programme managers can use the maps to develop long-term strategies at district, municipality or ward level that include intensified active case finding, preventive treatment and disability services, while considering costs and efficient use of resources.

Accelerating efforts to combat Neglected Tropical Diseases in Liberia

Letitia Nangwale, World Health Organization Liberia

Recently, the Ministry of Health, with support from the World Health Organization (WHO) and other partners, embarked on a series of activities to revise and update the NTD Masterplan for the period 2022–2027.

Risk factors and prevalence of human African trypanosomiasis in individuals living in remote areas of the republic of Congo

Viny Andzi Elenga et al., BMC Public Health

This study highlights the need of revising and strengthening the strategies of HAT control in Republic of Congo, using an approach which will take into account the education level, the marital status and the occupation of the population at risk.

World Neglected Tropical Diseases Day 2023 Poster Competition for Children

SCI Foundation

We are inviting children aged 8-16 to create a poster to raise awareness of these diseases on World NTD Day, celebrated on 30 January 2023.

Drugs for neglected tropical diseases: availability of age-appropriate oral formulations for young children

Issraa Al-Obaidi et al., Parasites & Vectors

We are summarising why age-appropriate formulations are important to ensure treatment efficacy, safety and effectiveness, outline initiatives to increase the number of paediatric indications/labelling and age-appropriate formulations, provide an overview of publicly available information on the formulations of oral drugs for NTDs relative to age appropriateness and give an introduction to options for age-appropriate formulations. 

A Need for Novel Diagnostics: Meeting the Moment

Policy Cures Research and FIND

In this report – prepared collaboratively by Policy Cures Research and FIND, the global alliance for diagnostics – we look into historical funding for diagnostics R&D, including areas of progress, where funding still lags behind, and what the global response to COVID-19 can tell us about the level of R&D funding we really need. We shed light on potential key drivers in the ongoing shortfall in diagnostics R&D investment for neglected diseases, emerging infectious diseases and sexual & reproductive health (SRH) issues. We then outline the case for expanded diagnostics R&D funding and how investments in diagnostics can strengthen health systems to drive progress in universal health coverage and global health security.


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

Neglected Tropical Diseases in Africa: Why We Must Innovate and Act Now!  
December 14, 2022

Dengue Prevention: Translating Knowledge into Action
January 12, 2023
Dengue Academy

Maximizing the untapped potential of NTD platforms to reach marginalized communities during future global health crises
February 8, 2023
COR-NTD Research Links

Achieving the WHO 2030 NTD Roadmap goals: systems and data-driven approaches to improve program strategy, planning and implementation for the elimination of PC-NTDs
February 22, 2023
COR-NTD Research Links