Archive for December, 2010

Weekly Blog Round Up! 12/20-12-24

December 24th, 2010

This Week on End the Neglect…

1. Sunday was Alyssa Milano’s birthday; we recognized Alyssa and all of her support of NTDs on Monday. 2. Amanda Miller, the Global Networks Asia Program Officer wrote her first blog entries for End the Neglect this week. Her first entry discussed inadequate sanitation in India and her second post will be up tomorrow, titled: Fa la la la la la la la Lymphatic Filariasis! 3. Malaria No More, Managing Director Mark Green, summed up the latest Malaria World Report. 4. Lymphatic Filariasis has been a common topic this week on End the Neglect, our first post highlighted a recent article about the progress of the WHO’s 2020 elimination goal of Lymphatic Filariasis. As well as we featured the footage from the 6th Meeting of the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis 5.The Carter Center’s work on the eradication of Guinea Worm was publicized this week, we shared links to a recent international article and CNN video. 6. The UK Department of International Development (DFID) announced a £25 million grant for  Imperial’s Schistosomiasis Control Initiative. 7. We also remembered Dr. Rene Le Berre, who spent his life working to eradicate the world of river blindness. Dr. Le Berre passed away earlier this week. 8. Alanna Shaikh, our weekly guest blogger, wrote about worms in relation to bible history and the holidays.

Happy Holidays from the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases!

December 22nd, 2010

Guess who is stopping by to spend the holidays with you?

Click HERE to find out!

Things will be a little slow on the blog for next week or so but well be back in full swing in 2011!

A Wormy Christmas: Now and Then

December 22nd, 2010

Worms are one of the most commonly referenced ailments in the Bible[1]. Some references make it clear that we’re talking about maggots, or larvae of some kind. In other places, though, it’s very clear that the worms in question are helminthes. The “fiery serpents” that struck the Israelites of the Red Sea area is generally understood by parasitologists to be Guinea Worms; the clinical symptoms of Dracunculiasis are also clearly recognizable in Bible passages[2].

In fact, worms come very close to being a theme in the Bible. Worms represent all kinds of things: illness, pain, dirt, and the smallness of human beings before God. Humans die and are eaten by worms, worms eat up the plants and the grapes. Psalm 22:6 is especially memorable: “But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by mankind and despised by the people…”

Worms were a fact of life for the people of the Bible, or they wouldn’t some up so often in its texts. Worms are also a fact of life for the people of the Modern Middle East. It’s hard to find data disaggregated for the Middle East alone, but the numbers are powerful. While Guinea Worm has been nearly eradicated from the region, there are many other helminthes that affect the Middle East. Both hookworms and roundworms are found in the region; 17% of global hookworm infections are in the Middle East and North Africa. Most of those infections are in children. Looking at the sparse data on the West Bank and Palestine, it is clear that helminth infections are common. 13.6% of children in Palestinian refugee camps are infected with cryptosporidium [3]. Read more: A Wormy Christmas: Now and Then

The Cost of Inadequate Sanitation in India

December 22nd, 2010

By: Amanda Miller

The World Bank released a news report yesterday stating that inadequate sanitation costs India 6.4% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2006, totaling US$53.8 billion.  The Economic Impacts of Inadequate Sanitation in India report is due out later this year from the Water and Sanitation Program (WSP), a global partnership administered by the World Bank.  The study analyzed evidence including costs associated with death and disease, accessing and treating water, as well as losses in education, productivity, and tourism.

Read more: The Cost of Inadequate Sanitation in India

Footage from the 6th Meeting of the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis

December 21st, 2010

As we mentioned, the 6th Meeting of the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis (GAELF) met from June 1 – June 3, 2010 and focused on developing strategies for lymphatic filariasis (LF) elimination for the next 10 years. Working with public and private partners, GAELF mobilizes political, financial, and technical resources to achieve LF elimination. Within this past decade, The Global Program has already established interventions to address LF in 51 of the 80 endemic countries. The 6th meeting held this past June focused on new strategies for elimination for the next decade. GAELF recently posted footage from the three day meeting, which can be viewed here.

Remembering Dr. Rene Le Berre

December 20th, 2010

Recently, the world of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) lost an amazing doctor who dedicated much of his life to saving millions from river blindness, also known as onchocerciasis. Dr. Rene Le Berre died December 6, 2010 due to cardiovascular disease complicated by diabetes. In the 1960s, Dr. Le Berre proposed spraying insecticide on breeding sites of black-flies, the vector for transmitting river blindness. Dr. Rene Le Berre will be sorely missed, however, he is remembered by his great accomplishments in public health. Read more about the life of Dr. Le Berre and river blindness here.

Jimmy Carters Fight to Eradicate the Guinea Worm

December 20th, 2010

Guinea worm is an infection disease caused by the roundworm parasite named Dracunculus medenisis. In 1986,the disease affected as many as 3.5 million people a year in 20 countries in Africa and Asia. Today the incidence of Guinea worm has been reduced by more than 99%. This can be attributed to the work of many, including The Carter Center, the nonprofit organization founded by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter. The Center works in more than 70 countries, and has had a hand in the near elimination of Guinea worm. Sudan carries the heaviest burden of the disease, however, great strides have been made in 2010 there were only 1,700 cases of Guinea worm worldwide. Read all about the progress of Guinea worm eradication and The Carter Center on The Spiegel Online International article released today. Also, President Carter was recently featured on CNN check out the video entitled, Jimmy Carters dream of eradication.

Elimination of lymphatic filariasis: do we have the drugs to complete the job?

December 20th, 2010

2020 is the deadline that the WHO Global Programme to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis (GPELF) set to eliminate lymphatic filariasis (LF). Currently LF is treated through mass drug administration (MDA) which is administering drugs to an entire population to treat a diseases -  using diethylcarbamazine or ivermectin monotherapy, or either drug in combination with albendazole. However, over the past five years of MDA, transmission of LF has yet to be interrupted. Other issues that have arisen include development of adverse health effects (specifically the onset of Loa loa) associated with consumption of the current drugs used for treatment. Moses J. Bockarie and Rinki M. Deb of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine recently published an article reviewing the current state of LF elimination. Read the full article here.

CNTD and LATH, in partnership with SCI, receive award from DFID for the Integrated Control of Schistosomiasis and Intestinal Helminths in subSaharan Africa

December 20th, 2010

Recently, the UK Department of International Development (DFID) announced a £25 million grant for  Imperials Schistosomiasis Control Initiative, which will pay for 75 million treatments against intestinal worms and schistosomiasis in Niger and Uganda as well as  expand the work nationally in Tanzania and Zambia and will help begin programmes in four more countries.

The Center for Neglected Tropical Diseases (CNTD) is a partner in the consortium that is recieving the funds and according to the press release:

In line with the government‘s push to make aid deliver better results, the consortium will safeguard the distribution of drugs and make sure they reach those most in need by providing aid only once agreed milestones have been met. Staff will be trained in the recipient countries to work within high risk communities. The US government recently committed additional funding to neglected tropical diseases. The SCI, CNTD and USAID supported programmes will help integrate treatment across the targeted countries. The consortium will work with the World Health Organisation (WHO) to help recipient countries prepare national plans for the sustainable control of all neglected diseases, and with ministries of health or national partners to train staff to distribute drugs in communities that need them the most.

Read the full press release here

More from the 2010 World Malaria Report

December 20th, 2010

By: Mark Green, Malaria No More

The World Health Organization’s 2010 World Malaria Report confirms the simple truth that gets me out of bed every morning and into work as a malaria advocate: while malaria is still a terrible killer, it is also completely preventable and treatable.

This year’s World Malaria Report shows that cases of malaria declined by 18 million and deaths caused by malaria declined by 82,000 worldwide. In 2009, there were 243 million cases of malaria, and malaria caused 781,000 deaths. That’s a drop in malaria deaths of nearly 10% in just one year. Now that’s something worth celebrating!

The idea of ending malaria deaths of breaking the disease’s death grip in too many parts of Africa – is no longer a pipe dream.

But to get there, progress must be accelerated. Without sustained funding, all of the gains we have achieved could be lost. The news today brings much hope, but of course there’s so much work yet to be done. It is a tragedy that three-quarters of a million people die from a disease that is entirely preventable and treatable. This is a crisis that we know how to solve, but we must have the will.

People ask me all the time if the money we spend in Africa is making any difference at all. They see the images of malnourished children and hear the stories of conflict and corruption.

This year’s report gives us evidence that it is, but behind all of these stats are countless stories of individuals persevering in the face of malaria. These stories would not be possible without leadership and resources from all corners of the globe. This report demonstrates just how many of these new success stories are being written.

Mark Green serves as the Malaria Policy Center’s Managing Director. Mark Green joined the Malaria Policy Center after his tenure as United States Ambassador to the United Republic of Tanzania.  Prior to serving as ambassador, Mark served four terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. He was a member of the House Judiciary and International Relations Committees, and served as an Assistant Majority Whip. He has also written for End the Neglect in the past.

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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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