World Sight Day-Celebrating Malawi as Trachoma Free and Uche Amazigo as Kyelem Prize Winner for her work on River Blindness 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: Dr. Uche Amazigo Wins Kyelem Prize

Lymphatic filariasis

A game-theoretic model of lymphatic filariasis prevention

Jan Rychtář and Dewey Taylor, PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases

We use a game-theoretic approach to assess the voluntary use of insect repellents in the prevention of the spread of LF through vector bites. Our results show that when individuals use what they perceive as optimal levels of protection, the LF incidence rates will become high. This is in striking difference to other vector-borne NTDs such as Chagas or zika. We conclude that the voluntary use of the protection alone will not be enough to keep LF eliminated as a public health problem and a more coordinated effort will be needed at the end of MDA.

A Comparative Study of Lymphatic Filariasis-Related Perceptions among Treated and Non-Treated Individuals in the Ahanta West Municipality of Ghana

Collins Stephen Ahorlu et al., Tropical Medicine and Infectious Disease

The reduction in risk perception among respondents, adverse reactions and the timing of MDA activities may be influencing MDA non-participation in the study area; however, respondents in both groups believed that, when community drug distributors (CDDs) are trained on how to engage the non-treated persons in effective dialogue, most of them will accept to take the drugs.

Health Ministry Aims To Lower North Lymphatic Filariasis Prevalence Below 1%

Sampras Anand, Fiji Sun

The launching of the second round of the Northern Division Lymphatic Filariasis Mass Drug Administration Roll Out is aimed to eliminate the prevalence of Lymphatic Filariasis (LF) to below one per cent. . . The Northern Division was able to sustain a low prevalence of LF in the past years, which was indicated in the first and second transmission assessment survey. . .Ministry’s Head of Health Protection, Dr Aalisha Sahukhan, said this is the target set for elimination of LF and this had previously been achieved in the Western and Central Divisions, barring a few hotspot areas. . .The Eastern Division which has a prevalence level above one per cent will have its second round of the MDA next year.

The development and roll-out of a new hydrocoele surgery facility assessment tool for the elimination of lymphatic filariasis

Sarah Martindale et al., International Health

The HSFAT results highlight key areas for improvement in different countries and can be used to develop a quality improvement plan, which may include actions with agreed deadlines to improve the readiness and quality of hydrocoele surgery services provided by the health facility, prior to implementation of surgical campaigns and assist country programmes to achieve the dossier requirements set out by the World Health Organization for the elimination of LF.

Pharmacology and early ADMET data of corallopyronin A, a natural product with macrofilaricidal anti-wolbachial activity in filarial nematodes

Rie R Yotsu et al., JMIR Research Protocols

Our eSkinHealth app is a field-adapted platform that could provide both direct diagnostic and management assistance to health workers in remote settings. The study will provide evidence for the usability and the effectiveness of the eSkinHealth app to improve the early detection and case management of skin NTDs in Côte d’Ivoire and, furthermore, is expected to contribute to knowledge on mobile health approaches in the control of skin NTDs.

GSK and Microsoft, in collaboration with the Centre for Health and Disease Studies, launch disease surveillance project in Nepal


GSK and Microsoft, in an innovative collaboration with the Centre for Health and Disease Studies (CHDS) Nepal, today announced the start of a disease surveillance project in Nepal. The pilot project, which will leverage Microsoft’s Premonition systems and GSK’s expertise in health and disease, will investigate how AI and robotics can support local community response to vector-borne diseases and climate change.


Progress in eliminating onchocerciasis in the WHO Region of the Americas: Advances in reaching the last endemic communities of the South Focus in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela

WHO Region of the Americas

Completion of the community inventory by remote sensing and construction of a landing strip for small fixed-wing planes in the Alto Siapa subarea were landmark events not only for Venezuela’s South Focus but also for the entire regional initiative to eliminate onchocerciasis transmission. The 31st IACO congratulated Venezuela on accomplishing these tasks and agreed that the programme should attempt to provide quarterly ivermectin MDA treatment to all high-priority communities in 2022. Stratified analysis of effective treatment rounds in the YFA and classification of communities into high, medium and low priority (according to the experience of other successful programmes in the Americas) shows that only 14 030 people (39.5% of the YFA population) remain at risk for active transmission of onchocerciasis. This represents just 2% of the original population at risk for onchocerciasis in the Americas Region.

The interruption of transmission of onchocerciasis in Kaduna, Kebbi and Zamfara states, Nigeria: another milestone achievement

Sunday Isiyaku et al., International Health

Onchocerciasis transmission has been interrupted and the three states meet World Health Organization thresholds: seropositivity in children <0.1% and <1/2000 infective black flies with 95% confidence. The 2.2 million people in Kaduna state and 4 million in Kebbi and Zamfara states no longer need ivermectin for onchocerciasis.

Onchocercal skin disease in Benue state, Nigeria: integrated assessment of burden and psychosocial impact, and associated factors

Uade Samuel Ugbomoiko et al., One Health & Implementation Research

Onchocerciasis-related morbidity has a profound measurable impact on the individual QoL, affecting the overall socioeconomic well-being of the affected community, if left untreated. Therefore, strict supervision and follow-up of home-based mass treatment with ivermectin are vital for successful control of the disease and to reduce the burden on affected communities.

As World Sight Day Nears, River Blindness is Fading

Gregory S. Noland and Kashef Ijaz, Saporta Report

Uganda’s Ministry of Health and The Carter Center (as the River Blindness Foundation until 1996) commenced activities in Moyo in 1993 in hopes of controlling onchocerciasis; elimination was not considered possible at that time. However, in 2007, Uganda boldly shifted its river blindness program’s goal from mere control to elimination, and significant progress has followed. Now, after years of treatments with Mectizan, the entire Madi-Mid North focus, including Moyo, has reached the status of “transmission interruption suspected” — a major step toward elimination. In fact, the entire country is on track for elimination of onchocerciasis transmission within the next few years — a feat that no country in Africa has yet achieved. 


Assessment of awareness and knowledge of schistosomiasis among school-aged children (6–13 years) in the Okavango Delta, Botswana

Kebabonye P. Gabaake, Nthabiseng A. Phaladze, Don Eliseo Lucero-Prisno III and Olekae T. Thakadu, Global Health Research and Policy

Although respondents from four schools demonstrated some level of awareness of the disease, and knowledge of risky behaviors, the study showed a lack of in-depth knowledge on the life-cycle and cause of the diseases. We, therefore, recommend the implementation of an integrated approach to health education and improvement in access to clean water and sanitation in all study areas.

Genomics can help us better understand and address threats to schistosomiasis control

Andrea Lund, BugBitten

The authors argue that recent advances in sequencing technologies can help fill gaps in our understanding of schistosomiasis persistence and reemergence and address threats to successful schistosomiasis control by informing which interventions to implement alongside treatment programs.

Schistosomiasis Control in Ethiopia: The Role of Snail Mapping in Endemic Communities

Asrat Meleko et al., Tropical Medicine and Infectious Disease

These results emphasize the importance of mapping snails for the control of schistosomiasis by defining hotspots of infection and identifying factors associated with the presence of infected snails. The results support the need for a continuous mapping of snails and the introduction of snail control as a major element for the successful control of schistosomiasis in endemic communities.

NNN Conference acknowledges growing health crisis of Female Genital Schistosomiasis (FGS) in sub-Saharan Africa

Elodie Yard, Crown Agents

In Kenya, ARISE and LVCT Health, a Kenyan NGO, spearheaded efforts to mainstream NTD control into primary health care by combining cervical cancer screening with FGS examination. So far, 83% of the women who attended their appointment showed signs of FGS and could receive treatment. . . The next steps will be to an evaluative research piece to assess the impact of the intervention on FGS diagnostic in targeted clinics. The results of the research will inform adaptation and possible scale up.

Schistosomiasis model with treatment, habitat modification and biological control

Wahyudin Nur, Trisilowati, Agus Suryanto and Wuryansari Muharini Kusumawinahyu, Mathematical Biosciences and Engineering

Our results show that early treatment can reduce the basic reproduction number and schistosomiasis cases. In addition, modifying snail habitat and releasing the snail predator at the snail habitat can reduce schistosomiasis prevalence. We suggest using snail predators which can hunt and kill snails effectively as a biological control agent.

The epidemiology of schistosomiasis in Egypt: summary findings in nine governorates.

T El-Khoby et al., The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene

Health questionnaires and parasitologic examinations of urine and stool were evaluated from a stratified random sample of 89,180 individuals from 17,172 households in 251 rural communities in 9 governorates of Egypt to investigate the prevalence of, risk factors for, and changing pattern of infection with Schistosoma sp. in Egypt. 

Health ministry announces outbreak of Schistosomiasis in North of Namibia

Zorena Jantze, Informante

The Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS) received reports of an increasing number of Schistosomiasis cases in the Kavango West Region, with a total of 312 confirmed cases.

Determinants of Schistosoma mansoni transmission in hotspots at the late stage of elimination in Egypt

Ramy Mohamed Ghazy et al., Infectious Diseases of Poverty

The persistence of the infection is due to adoption of risky behaviors and environmental factors that enhance snail survival and infection. Schistosomiasis elimination in hotspots requires an integrated control approach that combines preventive chemotherapy with other complementary measures.

Soil-Transmitted Helminthiasis

Comparison of coproprevalence and seroprevalence to guide decision-making in national soil-transmitted helminthiasis control programs: Ethiopia as a case study

Sara Roose et al., PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases

This is the first time that serology for soil-transmitted helminthiasis is applied on such large scale, thereby embedded in a control program context. The results underscore that serology holds promise as a tool to monitor STH control programs. Further research should focus on the optimization of the diagnostic assay and the refinement of serology-specific program decision-making thresholds.

Communication is key: Innate immune cells regulate host protection to helminths

Jianya Peng, Hannah G. Federman, Christina M. Hernandez, and Mark C. Siracusa, Frontiers in Immunology

In this review, we will describe the innate immune events that direct the scope and intensity of antihelminth immunity. Further, we will highlight the recent progress made in our understanding of the neuro-immune interactions that regulate these pathways and discuss the conceptual advances they promote.


Malawi First In Southern Africa To Eliminate Trachoma, Devastating Eye Disease

Appolonia Adeyemi, New Telegraph

Malawi has become the first country in southern Africa and the fifth in Africa to eliminate trachoma as a public health problem – a disease that affected 7.6 million people nationwide in 2015.

Trachoma is eliminated in Malawi


Malawi has become the first country in southern Africa to eliminate the infectious eye disease trachoma, as confirmed by the World Health Organization. Sightsavers began working in Malawi in the 1950s and helped to launch the Malawi Trachoma Elimination Programme in 2014. On 21 September 2022 the World Health Organization (WHO) officially announced that the country had eliminated the disease as a public health problem.

Malawi becomes 15th country to eliminate trachoma as a public health problem

International Trachoma Control Initiative

Malawi has been validated by the World Health Organization (WHO) for eliminating trachoma as a public health problem. Malawi is the fourth country in the WHO Africa Region and 15th country globally to achieve this milestone. Malawi has been working to eliminate trachoma as a public health problem since baseline trachoma prevalence surveys were conducted in 2008 which confirmed that 17 out of 28 districts in the country were trachoma endemic. This led the Ministry of Health in Malawi to establish the country’s first National Trachoma Control Program in 2011 and launch a formal national trachoma action plan in 2014.

Request for proposals: Operational research on tailored endgame strategies for persistent and recrudescent active trachoma


The Coalition for Operational Research on Neglected Tropical Diseases (COR-NTD) and the International Trachoma Initiative, with support from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (Gates Foundation) are seeking proposals for operational research on tailored endgame strategies for persistent and recrudescent active trachoma. This is an open-ended call.

Mobilizing to Eliminate Trachoma in African Migratory Populations

The Task Force for Global Health

Five districts in Uganda, four of which border Kenya, remain endemic to trachoma, a bacterial infection of the eyes that has impaired over 1.9 million people globally as the leading cause of infectious blindness worldwide. While the disease is entirely preventable with antibiotic treatment, there remain challenges to reaching isolated groups of people, such as migratory populations like the Ngipian community, which was originally from Ethiopia before coming to Uganda.

Photographic grading for trachoma diagnosis within trachoma impact surveys in Amhara region, Ethiopia

Cassidy C Whitson et al., Transactions of The Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene

Conjunctival photography may be a solution for programs near the elimination threshold where there are few available community cases for training field graders.

Maasai ‘culture’ spreading trachoma in Laikipia

James Murimi, Nation (Nairobi)

“The pastoralist community in this region believes that having many flies at the homestead is a sign of wealth. They don’t understand that the flies can be agents of spreading trachoma,” Mr Rampei told the Nation.


Safety of integrated preventive chemotherapy for neglected tropical diseases

Allan M. Ciciriello et al., PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases

Coadministration of NTD drugs during PC appears to be increasingly common. Safety of coadministered PC drugs requires attention to choking prevention, use of approved drug combinations, and increased access to age-appropriate drug formulations.

Neglected Tropical Diseases Test Directory


We are working to improve visibility and transparency in NTD diagnostic R&D, to help streamline programmatic action, reduce the risk of duplication, and leverage the full potential from a limited pool of funding. Last week at the COR-NTD annual meeting, we launched an open-access online portal for NTD diagnostics, which in the first instance will focus on the seven NTDs in the FIND portfolio: Buruli ulcer, Chagas disease, human African trypanosomiasis, lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis, schistosomiasis and visceral leishmaniasis. Moving forward, we will extend the scope to include all NTDs.


Identification of natural cytochalasins as leads for neglected tropical diseases drug discovery

Marilia Valli et al., PLOS One

The results of this study support the use of natural products from Brazilian biodiversity sources to find potential drug candidates for two of the most important NTDs.

Field Epidemiologist Brings Partners Together to Respond to a Suspected Rabies Outbreak in Northern Mozambique

The Task Force for Global Health

The mission identified eight cases during the investigation, concluding that low vaccination of  dogs, large stray dog populations, and displacement of hundreds of households and their animals were the primary reasons for the uptick in cases. The mission then quickly assembled a mass vaccination campaign for dogs in the district. . . “This whole operation is a practice in One Health,” said Tatenda Mutenga, Deputy Head of Office for FAO in Pemba, Mozambique. “This is the first time that these sectors have really come together on a collaborative intervention towards the control of rabies, and it is scalable.”

WHO says rabies 100% preventable, calls for public awareness

NNN (Nigeria)

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has called on the Federal Government to intensify public awareness and education on rabies, which it says is 99.9 per cent fatal but 100 per cent preventable. . .He [Mulombo, who was represented by Dr Alex Chimbaru] said rabies, a highly infectious disease, remained one of the most important zoonotic and Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) in Nigeria.


Uche Amazigo Wins 2022 Kyelem Prize


[At] the annual meeting of the Coalition for Operational Research on Neglected Tropical Diseases (COR-NTD), the Neglected Tropical Diseases Support Center announced Dr. Uche Veronica Amazigo as winner of the 2022 Kyelem Prize. The Kyelem Prize, given annually in honor of Dr. Dominique Kyelem, recognizes people in the neglected tropical disease (NTD) field who have been particularly effective in bringing together those who implement NTD control and elimination. 

CHICAS becomes WHO Collaborating Centre for Neglected Tropical Disease research

The Mirage

The World Health Organisation has officially designated Lancaster’s Centre for Health Informatics, Computing and Statistics (CHICAS) as a WHO Collaborating Centre on Geostatistical methods for Neglected Tropical Disease Research.

Recognising the potential of neglected tropical disease programmes as a platform for pandemic preparedness: the Ascend experience

Becks Hill, Nurudeen Dauda, Shehu Dabo and Geordie Woods, International Health

Living in an increasingly interconnected world, epidemics and pandemics are increasingly likely to be a vista for the future. This, coupled with the likely devastating effects of climate change, means that humanitarian crises are likely to increase. Now, more than ever before, is the time to scale up investment in prevention and preparedness strategies, and to review our current approaches to delivering health services, including those that address neglected tropical diseases. The Ascend West and Central Africa programme has illustrated the importance of innovation, multisector partnerships, resilience and the opportunity for change.

Leveraging resources and the impact of neglected tropical disease elimination programmes: getting (much) more than what you pay for

Iain Jones and Philip Downs, International Health

Partnerships have been key to significant progress in combating neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). Collaboration between a range of partners, each bringing different skills and resources, helps reach more people in need with greater efficiency. Some partners have contributed in-kind donations, including drugs and volunteer time. When making resource allocation decisions donors need to consider the significant leverage their investment in NTD programmes can have. This commentary estimates the value of the leverage that the Ascend programme achieved. It is clear that funding from UK aid to Ascend delivered (much) more than what they paid for.


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

The 20th International Congress for Tropical Medicine and Malaria (ICTMM)
October 24 - 28, 2022
MESA Alliance 

2022 ASTMH Annual Meeting
October 30-November 3, 2022
American Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene 

21st International Leprosy Congress 2022
November 8-10, 2022

IACS Annual Scabies Control Meeting 1
November 8, 2022
IACS/COR-NTD Research Links

IACS Annual Scabies Control Meeting 2
November 15, 2022
IACS/COR-NTD Research Links

Mainstreaming of NTD programs: Exploring the transition of schistosomiasis/soil transmitted helminths MDA in Nigeria and the non-participation/zero dose in disease campaigns in Indonesia and Ghana in projects supported by HCEC
November 16, 2022
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
January 17, 2023
COR-NTD Research Links

Maximizing the untapped potential of NTD platforms to reach marginalized communities during future global health crises
February 7, 2023
COR-NTD Research Links