WHO's 2023 Global Report on Neglected Tropical Diseases 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: Celebrating International Women's Day-Female Genital Schistosomiasis -What is it?

Lymphatic filariasis

Evaluating elimination thresholds and stopping criteria for interventions against the vector-borne macroparasitic disease, lymphatic filariasis, using mathematical modelling

Swarnali Sharma, Morgan E. Smith, Shakir Bilal and Edwin Michael, Communications Biology

We leveraged the ability of EPIFIL transmission models fit to field data to evaluate the use of the WHO Transmission Assessment Survey (TAS) for supporting Lymphatic Filariasis (LF) intervention stopping decisions. Our results indicate that understanding the underlying parasite extinction dynamics, particularly the protracted transient dynamics involved in shifts to the extinct state, is crucial for understanding the impacts of using TAS for determining the achievement of LF elimination. These findings warn that employing stopping criteria set for operational purposes, as employed in the TAS strategy, without a full consideration of the dynamics of extinction could seriously undermine the goal of achieving global LF elimination.

Increased HIV Incidence in Wuchereria bancrofti Microfilaria Positive Individuals in Tanzania

Jonathan Mnkai et al., Pathogens

In the subgroup of MF-producing Wb-infected individuals, the HIV incidence exceeded the previously described moderate increased risk for HIV seen in all Wb-infected individuals (regardless of MF status) compared with uninfected persons from the same area.

Determinants of Community Distrust of Drugs Deliverers in the Catchment Areas of Waihaong and Air Salobar Health Centers, Ambon

Ezra P. A. Siwtiory et al., Atlantis Press: Proceedings of the 1st International Conference for Health Research – BRIN (ICHR 2022)

Our findings show that interventions are still required to improve the community’s knowledge of LF and MDA through different health promotion activities. Efforts to enhance the community’s sense of responsibility and mutual obligation to take LF drugs will be beneficial to improve community trust in drug deliverers in MDA and support the goal of LF elimination in Ambon City.

Construction and validation of a multi-epitope in silico vaccine model for lymphatic filariasis by targeting Brugia malayi: a reverse vaccinology approach

Premnath Madanagopal, Sathya Muthusamy, Satya Narayan Pradhan and Prabhu Rajaiah Prince, Bulletin of the National Research Centre

[By] monitoring the overall in silico assessment, we hypothesize that our engineered peptide vaccine could be a viable prophylactic approach in the development of vaccines against the threat of human lymphatic filariasis.


Concordance between Ov16 rapid diagnostic test (RDT) and Ov16 enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for the diagnosis of onchocerciasis in areas of contrasting endemicity in Cameroon

Relindis Ekanya et al., Parasite Epidemiology and Control

The results obtained indicate an excellent agreement between ELISA and RDT as measured by kappa (0.936) which was statistically significant (P < 0.001). Our experience with the Ov16 ELISA biplex rapid test was favorable. However, the Ov16 RDT test may be more appropriate to use in remote areas for the point diagnosis of onchocerciasis in view towards achieving elimination in Africa.

Geospatial distribution and predictive modeling of onchocerciasis in Ogun State, Nigeria

Olabanji Ahmed Surakat et al., PLOS One

A total of 19 environmental variables were used to model the potential geographical distribution area under current climatic conditions. . . As predicted, Ovolvulus occurrence showed a positive association with variables reflecting precipitation in Ogun State. Our predictive risk-maps has provided useful information for the elimination of onchocerciasis, by identifying priority areas for delivery of intervention in Ogun State, Nigeria.


Profiling the knowledge of female medical/para-medical students, and expertise of health care professionals on female genital schistosomiasis in Anambra, Southeastern Nigeria

Ogechukwu B. Aribodor et al., PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases

Awareness and knowledge about FGS among MPMS and HCPs were poor in Anambra, Nigeria. It is therefore important to invest in innovative methods of building capacity of MPMS and HCPs, with complementary provision of necessary diagnostics to perform colposcopy, as well as competence to diagnose pathognomonic lesions using diagnostic atlas or Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Molluscicidal nanoemulsion of Neomitranthes obscura (DC.) N. Silveira for schistosomiasis control

Leonardo Rangel et al., Frontiers in Pharmacology

This result suggests the use of this nanoformulation as a promising alternative in the control of Biomphalaria glabrata and the transmission of schistosomiasis.

Prevalence of Schistosoma mansoni, soil-transmitted helminths and intestinal protozoa in orphans and street children in Mwanza city, Northern Tanzania

Anemone Franz, Antje Fuss, Humphrey D. Mazigo, Deodatus Ruganuza and Andreas Müller, Infection

The results indicate a significantly higher rate of infections with S. mansoni in street children compared with orphans. This might be explained by the lack of access to adequate sanitation for street children as well as regular contact with the water of Lake Victoria. However, we did not find similar results concerning infection rates with protozoa. The study results show overall inadequate living conditions in this study population, which could be addressed by public health interventions.

Association between polymorphisms of IL4, IL13, IL10, STAT6 and IFNG genes, cytokines and immunoglobulin E levels with high burden of Schistosoma mansoni in children from schistosomiasis endemic areas of Cameroon

Estelle Mezajou Mewamba et al., Infection, Genetics and Evolution

The prevalence and infection intensities of S. mansoni vary significantly between sampling sites. Polymorphisms within STAT6 and IL10 genes were associated with the risk of bearing high burden of S. mansoni. The risk of having low plasmatic concentration of IL13 and IL10 was associated with the polymorphism of IL13 and IL4 genes. The outcome of S. mansoni infections as well as the plasmatic concentrations of IL13 and IL10 were influenced by the genetic polymorphisms of some cytokine genes. The plasmatic concentration of IgE, IL13 and IFNG was correlated with the infection intensities of S. mansoni.

CRISPR-assisted test for Schistosoma haematobium

Dounia Cherkaoui et al., Scientific Reports

This work presents a new application of CRISPR diagnostics for highly sensitive and specific detection of parasitic pathogens in remote areas and could have a significant impact on the elimination of neglected tropical diseases.

Incorporating the diagnosis and management of female genital schistosomiasis in primary healthcare in Liberia: a mixed methods pilot study

Motto Nganda et al., International Health

This study demonstrates the possibility of using a clinical care package to diagnose women and girls suspected of FGS, including the provision of treatment using praziquantel when it is made available at primary healthcare facilities.

International Women's Day -What is Female Genital Schistosomiasis


For International Women's Day, COR-NTD and UK Aid from the UK government want to call your attention to a neglected tropical disease called female genital schistosomiasis. Not only is this disease life-altering, and stigmatizing but it’s also preventable. Help us shed light on FGS to beat NTDs.

Soil-Transmitted Helminthiasis

Predisposition to soil-transmitted helminth reinfection after four rounds of mass drug administration: results from a longitudinal cohort in the Geshiyaro project, a transmission elimination feasibility study in the Wolaita zone of southern Ethiopia

Santiago Rayment Gomez et al., Transactions of The Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene

Evidence for predisposition in endemic settings in southern Ethiopia with low STH prevalence suggests that more targeted approaches to MDA in those predisposed to infection may be a sensible control strategy if cheap, point of care diagnostics are available.

Evaluation of opportunities to implement community-wide mass drug administration for interrupting transmission of soil-transmitted helminths infections in India

Kumudha Aruldas et al., PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases

Overall, all three states indicated a highly favorable policy environment, effective leadership structure, adequate material resources, demonstrated technical capacity, and adequate community infrastructure needed to launch a STH cMDA program. The findings indicated a high-level of health system readiness to implement provided human resources and financial resources to deliver cMDA is strengthened. Areas with a significant overlap between LF and STH MDA platforms, particularly at the community-level, may be best primed for transitioning. Immunization, maternal child health, and non-communicable disease control programs were the other programs for possible integration of cMDA. States indicated having effective leadership structures in place at the state-level, however, engaging local leaders and community groups were considered crucial for successful implementation of cMDA. In-migration was a perceived challenge for estimating drug requirement and preventing possible stockouts.

Effects of Age, Gender and Soil-Transmitted Helminth Infection on Prevalence of Plasmodium Infection among Population Living in Bata District, Equatorial Guinea

Gertrudis R. Meñe et al., Tropical Medicine and Infectious Disease

The overlapping problem of STH and malaria is neglected in Bata. The current study forces the government and other stakeholders involved in the fight against malaria and STH to consider a combined control program strategy for both parasitic infections in Equatorial Guinea.

Current prevalence and geographic distribution of helminth infections in the parasitic endemic areas of rural Northeastern Thailand

Pongsakorn Martviset et al., BMC Public Health

This finding suggested that the parasitic helminth infection in the rural areas of northeast of Thailand remains high and the housing location is a major contributing factor for the parasitic infection.

92% children covered under deworming drive in three municipalities in Timor-Leste

World Health Organization South-East Asia

According to a 2001 World Health Assembly resolution, regular treatment of at least 75% of school-age children for the control of schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminths in high transmission areas is a recommended strategy. Timor-Leste’s current achievement is therefore much higher. . . Dr. Frederico Bosco Alves dos Santos, National Director of Public Health of MoH, said that the workshop was an important exercise to evaluate the progress made on the ground and derive useful lessons for the future deworming activities. 

In silico design of a polypeptide as a vaccine candidate against ascariasis

Francisco M. D. Evangelista, Arnoud H. M. van Vliet, Scott P. Lawton and Martha Betson, Scientific Reports

Here we have applied an in silico approach to design a multi-epitope polypeptide that contains T-cell and B-cell epitopes of reported novel potential vaccination targets, alongside epitopes from established vaccination candidates. . . Immune simulations predicted an increase in B-cell and T-cell immune response after injection. This polypeptide can now be validated experimentally and compared to other vaccine candidates to assess its possible impact in human health.

Accuracy, acceptability, and feasibility of diagnostic tests for the screening of Strongyloides stercoralis in the field (ESTRELLA): a cross-sectional study in Ecuador

Francesca Tamarozzi et al., The Lancet Global Health

The combination of Bordier ELISA with either faecal test performed best in this study. Practical aspects (including costs, logistics, and local expertise) should, however, also be taken into consideration when selecting tests in different contexts. Acceptability might differ in other settings.


Informal consultation on end-game challenges for trachoma elimination

Task Force for Global Health, World Health Organization

In December 2021, 176 EUs worldwide, or 8% of all EUs that had ever been observed to have a TF1–9 ≥ 5%, met the criteria for category 1. The majority of category 1 EUs (145/176, 82%) were in Ethiopia (Table 1). Within category 1 EUs, those in Ethiopia were more likely than those in other countries to have a most recent1 TF1–9 ≥ 10% (113/145, 78%, in Ethiopia; 14/31, 45%, in all other countries combined). Of 774 EUs worldwide that had conducted at least one surveillance survey, 123 (16%) met the criteria for category 2, of which 57 (46%) were in Ethiopia (Table 2). Of the 45 EUs with subsequent impact survey data, 35 (78%) had subsequently recorded a TF1–9 < 5%. The 10 EUs that did not were in Ethiopia (8), Uganda (1) and the United Republic of Tanzania (1).

A call to action: Why ICTC is bringing the trachoma community together to advance facial cleanliness and environmental improvement

Sarity Dodson, Kristin M. Sullivan and Angelia Sanders, International Trachoma Control Initiative

The International Coalition for Trachoma Control (ICTC) Strategic Plan 2022-2030 commits to bringing stakeholders together to share programmatic experiences and generate evidence to increase investment and support the provision of technical assistance through the development of preferred practices – including F&E. This World Water Day, ICTC is acting on its commitment by convening ICTC members and observers, and other stakeholders with relevant experience, to define a path forward, to identify research gaps, refine advocacy messaging and develop tools that will drive new investment for F&E and advance the global elimination of trachoma by 2030. 


Global report on neglected tropical diseases 2023: executive summary

World Health Organization

Disruption as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has continued to afflict longstanding and new programmes alike, while other entrenched issues have re-emerged in new and challenging ways. The global NTD community is also confronted with a changing, multi-dimensional funding landscape as donors reassess priorities and adapt to new ways of working, as well as a challenging and unpredictable international context. As a result, progress in controlling, eliminating or eradicating NTDs has not been as far-reaching as expected.

The burden of NTDs continues to be unequally borne by a small number of countries: 16 countries bear 80% of this burden. Slower than expected progress in high-burden countries, uneven progress across certain of the 20 diseases and disease groups, persistent underlying risk factors (poverty, climate change) and rapid population growth are all threats to achieving the 2030 targets within the defined timescales.

USAID extends RTI International-led program to eliminate neglected tropical diseases around the world

Tim Gabel and Lisa Rotondo, RTI International

 This extension continues the USAID Act to End NTDs | East program until September 2026 and increases the program’s ceiling by $125 million, for a total of more than $420 million over eight years, which will directly support governments in achieving their NTD goals.

The pipeline for drugs for control and elimination of neglected tropical diseases: 1. Anti-infective drugs for regulatory registration

Kenneth M. Pfarr et al., Parasites & Vectors

New drugs are needed to achieve some of them. We are providing an overview of the pipeline for new anti-infective drugs for regulatory registration and steps to effective use for NTD control and elimination. 

5 neglected tropical diseases still found in Indonesia: Ministry

Antara (Indonesia)

Of the 20 NTDs, 5 are still being detected in Indonesia: leprosy, yaws, filariasis, schistosomiasis, and rabies, he informed. 

Eliminating morbidity caused by neglected tropical diseases by 2030

Theresa Gyorkos et al., Pan American Journal of Public Health

Three important projects have recently been completed: 1. Finalizing the Monitoring and Evaluation Framework for the NTD Road Map (published May 2021; this PAHO/WHO CC was a member of the working group); 2. Developing new guidelines for the preventive chemotherapy of Taenia solium taeniasis (published September 2021; this PAHO/WHO CC was co-Chair; and 3. Formulating a policy brief on deworming for adolescent girls and women of reproductive age (published January 2022; this PAHO/WHO CC is co-lead).

Lessons from participatory community mapping to inform neglected tropical disease programmes in Nigeria

Luret A Lar et al., International Health

This article highlights the importance of meaningful community engagement methods and engaging gatekeepers in visual participatory methods. It emphasizes the importance of including divergent views of various population groups in order to ensure that all communities are reached by NTDs programmes.

Sixth Cohort of the African Researchers' Small Grants Program Announced


After a rigorous and intense selection process, nine researchers from six African countries have been selected as recipients for the sixth cohort of the SGP.


Jimmy Carter took on the awful Guinea worm when no one else would — and he triumphed

Jason Beaubien, NPR (USA)

[A]fter he left office he launched a war against "neglected" diseases ... like lymphatic filariasis, trachoma, river blindness, schistosomiasis ... and a nasty little bug called Guinea worm disease.

Profile of the leprosy endemic in the district of Murrupula, Nampula, Mozambique: A population-based study

Gabriela de Cássia Ribeiro et al., Revista da Sociedade Brasileira de Medicina Tropical

This study revealed an active chain of transmission, hidden prevalence, and operational deficiencies in leprosy surveillance and care. The results suggest that the implementation of a public health policy for leprosy prevention and control in Nampula Province is necessary. In future, the possibility of expanding the policy to the entire country should be considered.

Neglected Tropical Diseases Monitoring and Evaluation Framework


In course 1 and 2 you learned about the road map for neglected tropical diseases for 2021–2030 and the Sustainability framework which puts NTDs programmes on the track to sets global targets and milestones to control, eliminate or eradicate 20 diseases and disease groups. You also learned about the cross-cutting targets aligned with both WHO’s Thirteenth General Programme of Work and the Sustainable Development Goals, with strategies for achieving the targets during the next decade. In this course, we will introduce you to the second companion document to the road map, the framework for monitoring and evaluating progress against the road map targets, also called, the M&E framework. The M&E framework aims to facilitate tracking of progress against set goals while enabling course corrections to be made wherever necessary.

Mentorship Program 2023–Application period now open


The iCHORDS mentorship program aims to provide opportunities for the mentorship of early career researchers, students, and young professionals in the field of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), and the social and behavioural sciences (e.g. anthropology, sociology, economics, etc.) to support the development of the next generation of NTD professionals. Deadline is March 31.

Janssen Announces Novel Dengue Antiviral Demonstrates Efficacy in Pre-Clinical Data Published in Nature

Tesia Williams, Business Wire

The Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) announced today the publication of new data in the journal Nature showing that an early-stage clinical candidate (JNJ-1802) provides strong protection against dengue in non-human primates and mice. The first-in-class antiviral, which was shown to be safe and well tolerated in a Phase 1 first-in-human clinical study, is now progressing into Phase 2 clinical studies for the prevention and treatment of dengue.

Our next round of funding opportunities is launched

Reckitt Global Hygiene Institute

RGHI is pleased to announce the launch of our Senior Fellowship Programme and International Collaboration Award (ICA). The awards are designed to provide up to 3-years financial support for innovative and impactful research projects that address critical issues in hygiene.

Course on Disease Elimination

Global Institute for Disease Elimination (GLIDE)

The Global Institute for Disease Elimination (GLIDE) is happy to announce that applications are now open for our co-designed course with the New York University School of Global Public Health ‘Disease Elimination and Eradication Strategies for Infectious Diseases in LMICs,’ which will take place from 23 May - 15 June 2023. The course will guide participants to innovatively develop and present viable disease elimination strategies for Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) and infectious diseases more broadly. Applications are due Thursday, 20th April 2023.

Call for public consultation-Target Product Profiles (TPP) for visceral leishmaniasis diagnostics

World Health Organization

There is a need for an in vitro point-of-care test to confirm or exclude active cases for early diagnosis, in order to benefit both patients and communities as untreated cases are reservoirs of infection and therefore put the community at risk of ongoing Leishmania transmission. Similarly, an in vitro laboratory test is needed for confirming or rejecting whether visceral leishmaniasis has been successfully cured post-treatment.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is seeking feedback on the TPP from experts in the industry, product developers, the scientific community, NTD programme personnel and clinicians currently involved in the management and control of visceral leishmaniases.

Exploring the well-being of people affected by skin NTDs in Kaduna and Kwara States, Nigeria: a photovoice and scoping review study

Oluwatosin Adekeye et al., International Health

The critical role of participatory methods in our study emphasises how people affected by skin NTDs have multiple coping mechanisms that can be galvanised in the provision of holistic NTD care. We recommend that NTD programmes should strengthen relationships with affected persons to identify pre-existing support platforms that can be used to support the emotional and physical health and well-being of affected persons. Working with affected persons and community actors to strengthen necessary intersectoral approaches is a first step in designing and delivering such holistic care.

Call for 2023 COR-NTD Annual Meeting Breakout Session Proposal Reviewers


Topics for breakout sessions will be solicited from the community via a call for proposals. This call will be launched early April on the COR-NTD website: cor-ntd.org. Successful breakout proposals will be focused on research topics of interest to the global NTD community and designed to move the operational research agenda forward. 

Reviewers will be asked to review approximately 4-6 breakout session proposals, anticipated to take no more than 4 hours in early May. Additionally, reviewers will be asked to  gather virtually for two hours in late May to discuss the break sessions and compare their reviews. If you are interested in applying, please fill out this brief application by March 31.

Upcoming Events

Global meeting on skin-related neglected tropical diseases (skin NTDs)
March 27-31, 2023
World Health Organization

The Training Program on Tropical Disease Control Technology in Greater Mekong Subregion
March 29-30, 2023
Hainan Tropical Disease Research Center 

XVIII Workshop on Chagas Disease
April 11-12, 2023
Chagas Coalition

FGS cohort course for French speakers
May, 2023
Bridges to Development, The Geneva Learning Foundation, and The END Fund

NNN Conference 2023
September 19-21, 2023
Neglected Tropical Disease NGO Network

COR-NTD Annual Meeting
October 16-17, 2023
Coalition for Operational Research on Neglected Tropical Diseases

American Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene Annual Meeting
October 18-22, 2023

November 20-23, 2023
European Congress on Tropical Medicine and International Health