Archive for December, 2009

What Were Reading..

December 28th, 2009

Here are some of the articles were currently reading:

  1. New York Times: A Most Meaningful Gift Idea
  2. Medical News Today: IRIN Series Examines Health, Development Issues In Kenya
  3. IRIN News: KENYA: Where life can be brutal and short
  4. New York Times: The Role of Microfinance

Happy Holidays!

December 28th, 2009

From all of us here at the Global Network, Seasons Greetings and Best Wishes for the New Year!!!



Holiday Reading: The Power of Educating Adolescent Girls

December 23rd, 2009

The newest report from the Girls Count series released by the Coalition for Adolescent Girls examines research focusing on girls in the developing world and demonstrates how improving their lives with better access to healthcare and education will lift communities out of poverty.

The Coalition for Adolescent Girls was founded in 2005 by the United Nations Foundation and the Nike Foundation and is currently comprised of over 30 leading international organizations including the Population Council and the International Womens Health Coalition.

The Girls Countseries calls for 10 specific actions:

  1. Give adolescent girls an officially recognized identification
  2. Collect data on adolescent girls and disaggregate it by age and gender to assess whether programs are reaching adolescent girls
  3. Increase funding for adolescent girls and track what it achieves
  4. Expand opportunities for girls to attend secondary school
  5. Re-focus HIV/AIDS prevention strategies to focus on adolescent girls
  6. Re-orient health delivery systems to work for adolescent girls
  7. Economically empower adolescent girls by building and protecting their assets
  8. Build marketable skills by enhancing the relevance of educational curricula and developing after-school tutoring and mentoring programs.
  9. Make the law work for adolescent girls
  10. Equip adolescent girls to advocate for themselves and their communities
  11. Mobilize communities, families, men and boys to support adolescent girls

 Were definitely going to reading through this important report over the holidays. What other important global health/development reports and/or books should we be currently reading? Let us know!

Cameroon’s Innovative Partnership for the control of Parasitic Worms

December 22nd, 2009

“Together for a Cameroon Without Worms”

The prevalence of schistosomiasis and intestinal worms are a major public health problem in Cameroon. School-aged children are the most adversely affected by these debilitating diseases that are responsible for high morbidity rates, retarded growth, a reduction in cognitive growth, and vulnerability to other infections.

In an effort to combat and control these diseases, the government of Cameroon has adopted an inter-sector collaboration for the implementation of regular deworming activities in all Cameroonian schools. The Ministry of Public Health, the Ministry of Basic Education, and the Union of United Councils and Cities have teamed up to form the collaboration. This innovative tripartite agreement will capitalize the resources of each partner and include vital education and water & sanitation activities.

Already, the partnership has mobilized the resources from the Global Network, WHO, UNICEF, Children Without Worms, Johnson & Johnson and Merck KGaA, to launch the official national campaign for de-worming of school-age children in May 2009. The campaign targeted all 10 regions of Cameroon and a total of 4 million school age children in 13,000 schools.


The signing of the tripartite agreement by the Minister of Public, the Minister of Basic Education, and the President of the Union of United Councils and Cities of Cameroon


The campaign successfully dewormed a total of 5,957,122 children. In each district, directors of schools and health personnel were trained and educated and deworming materials were widely distributed. The children of Cameroon can now look towards healthier and more successful futures.

Night 8: The Other NTDs

December 19th, 2009

Tonight well wrap up our Hannukah and NTDs series with a focus on the remaining NTDs as defined by the WHO: buruli ulcer, dengue fever, guinea worm, African sleeping sickness, leishmaniasis, and leprosy.  At the Global Network, we are commonly asked why do you only focus on seven NTDs?  The seven NTDs weve detailed over the last seven nights are the most common NTDs, representing approximately 90% of the total disease burden.  We also focus on them, however, because they are generally referred to as tool-readythat is to say, we have medications that are safe, affordable, and available to treat the seven most common.

Which brings us to the other NTDs that also cause significant suffering among the poorest of the world’s communities. Like the most common ones, these NTDs promote the continuation of poverty in developing communities by impairing physical and intellectual growth and decreasing worker productivity.  But unlike the others, they are either missing treatment/control tools altogether or the tools are difficult to access or afford.

Many groups are working to change this landscape.  Analysis from Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) clarifies:

For the most neglected diseases, patients are so poor that they have virtually no purchasing power and cannot spark market interest in drug R&D among pharmaceutical companies. Recently, the field of R&D for neglected diseases has seen the emergence of several new organisations, new donors, new financial mechanisms, and a new political environment. However, although the global R&D landscape has improved for neglected diseases since 2003, the dire needs of the most neglected victims who carry on suffering in the developing world are still largely unmet. A recent study by G-Finder revealed that less than 5 percent of worldwide R&D funding for neglected diseases has been directed towards the most neglected diseases.

To read more about these NTDs, visist our website.

Night 7: Schistosomiasis

December 18th, 2009

By Dr. Alan Fenwick, Director, Schistosomiasis Control Initiative at Imperial College London

Schistosomiasis, which is also known as bilharzia or snail fever, is another of the most common NTDs with an estimated 200 million people infected globally, and many more at risk especially in sub-Saharan Africa.

S_mansoni_adult_Lammie1The serious effects of schistosomiasis can be controlled by regular treatment of early infections with the drug praziquantel; this treatment is usually better directed at children who have recently acquired infections before symptoms can develop. Before the year 2000, praziquantel had successfully been used in China and Egypt, but it was expensive at $1 per tablet. The price today from generic manufacturers is a more affordable 8 cents a tablet. Since 2002 the Schistosomiasis Control Initiative has expanded the number of countries with control programmes thanks to support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Legatum, and more recently the USAID.  WHO has identified the need for them to take a great interest in schistosomiasis because expansion of coverage has been slower than with the other NTDs mainly due to the absence of a large scale drug donation program. It is estimated that during 2009 less than 10% of those in need of treatment will actually have access to praziquantel, despite investment by USAID and the emergence of other NGOs taking an interest in treating schistosomiasis.

During the next 5 years if the MDGs are to be achieved it will be necessary for the world to donate more money for praziquantel and its distribution so that children can be given a healthy start to their life and perform better at school.

Read more: Night 7: Schistosomiasis

Night 6: Trachoma

December 17th, 2009

Ever had an eyelash in your eye?  Its a commonand really painfulexperience that almost everyone can relate to.  Now think of the pain experienced in the few minutes until you can remove the eyelash, but multiply it by thousands, and youll come close to understanding the pain caused by trachoma long before it even reaches its most well-known manifestation: blindness.

Trachoma - baby with fliesA single exposure to trachoma bacterium does not in itself cause blindness. Repeated exposure to the disease through person-to-person contact or infected flies over time eventually causes the inside of the eyelid to turn inward a condition called trichiasis and the eyelashes to scrape and scar the cornea, leading to the formation of corneal opacities and painful and irreversible blindness. Trachoma is particularly common in children under five and the adults – mainly women – who care for them. In some rural communities, 60 – 90 percent of children are infected.  Adult women are three times more likely to develop the blindness associated with trachoma, attributed in part to their caretaking of very young children.

Trachoma is the world’s leading cause of preventable blindness. More than 84 million people in 56 countries worldwide have active trachoma, and an estimated eight million have lost their sight due to complications from the disease.

Treatment for trachoma focuses on active symptom elimination and future prevention efforts. A major comprehensive public health strategy approved by the World Health Organization, called SAFE, is underway to treat trachoma epidemics in rural Africa and other parts of the developing world. The combination of surgery (S), antibioticstypically azyithromycin/Zithromax (A), facial cleanliness (F) and environmental educational efforts (E) is a multi-pronged approach to the disease and has shown promising results.

Between 1999 and 2006, nearly 41 million antibiotic treatments for blinding trachoma were administered worldwide.  For more information, visit organizations like the International Trachoma Initiative and Helen Keller International.

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    • The Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases is a major advocacy and resource mobilization initiative of the Sabin Vaccine Institute dedicated to raising the awareness, political will, and funding necessary to control and eliminate the most common neglected tropical diseases (NTDs)--a group of disabling, disfiguring, and deadly diseases affecting more than 1.4 billion people worldwide living on less than $1.25 a day.
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