This blog post was Sabin Vaccine Institute website.
This month, Sabin Vaccine Institute joined over Universal Health Coverage Day. With a tagline of Health for All. Everywhere, Universal Health Coverage Day, taking place on December 12, will call for universal health coverage (UHC) to be a global priority.
The push for UHC began two years ago on December 12th, when the United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted a landmark resolution endorsing UHC as a global priority for sustainable development. The resolution urged governments to scale up efforts to accelerate the transition towards UHC.
It is estimated that over a third of households in Africa and Southeast Asia have to borrow money or sell assists to pay for health care. The lack of affordable, quality healthcare leaves families and nations impoverished.
As the post 2015 development agenda takes shape, key health partners such as The World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Bank Group have already developed a framework for countries to measure UHC progress, demonstrating that UHC is an indicator that can be measured at a national and global level.
Sabin is happy to join organizations around the world this Universal Health Coverage Day. We believe in making essential health interventions—such as cost-effective vaccines and treatment for neglected tropical diseases (NTDs)—accessible to those that cannot afford or access them, as well as supporting the global vision of providing UHC for all impoverished and vulnerable populations.
You can learn more about Universal Health
“I’ve had [lymphatic filariasis] for 18 years” said Bernadette Seenarine –a long time resident of Georgetown, Guyana who operates a small grocery shop from her home. In the short video titled one of four countries in the Americas where transmission of LF still occurs. Seenarine is one of an estimated 68,000 people –approximately 9 percent of Guyana’s population—assumed to have been infected with LF. In Guyana, it is estimated that 310,000 people are at risk of contracting the disease.
Lymphatic filariasis (LF)—also known as “big foot” in Guyana—is a debilitating neglected tropical disease (NTD) caused by microfilaria, a tiny parasite that causes the disease. In Georgetown, Guyana, the disease is predominately spread by the culex mosquito, the vector for the parasitic worm that causes LF. Due to the frequent flooding that occurs in Georgetown and its lack of adequate drainage and sewer systems, large pools of contaminated and stagnant water are formed throughout the city. These pools of water act as breeding grounds for culex mostiqutoes who transmit the LF disease to humans.
LF is extremely painful and causes profound swelling of the legs that can lead to permanent disability. People living with this disease also suffer from financial and social loses and can become stigmatized. “Sometimes people don’t want to come and buy when I have this foot,” Seenarine said when explaining how her swollen leg has caused people from her community to stop buying food from her grocery store. “…It’s really difficult to live with this.”
To tackle this problem, the Latin American and the Caribbean Neglected Tropical Disease Initiative (LAC NTD Initiative)—a partnership that includes the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and Sabin Vaccine Institute’s Global Network for Neglected Tropical Disease—are working to scale-up efforts to control and eliminate NTDs within the LAC regions, including Guyana. These efforts include implementing joint community-based deworming campaigns for LF in Guyana’s capital of Georgetown, in addition to integrating social mobilization campaigns to educate Guyana’s population about LF treatment, transmission and prevention. The LAC NTD Initiative is also working to improve the infrastructure of Georgetown’s sewage system to reduce risk factors of contracting LF.
The Sabin City Group, a collaborative partnership with corporate institutions in the United Kingdom and the UK charity Sabin Foundation Europe, is also contributing in the fight to eliminate LF in Guyana by recently launching the group’s ‘Guyana campaign’. The campaign’s goal is to raise funding to support NTD programs in Guyana in an effort to eliminate LF by 2016.
To learn more about NTD projects carried out in the LAC region, we invite you to read this published report titled “It Can be Done: An Integrated Approach for Controlling and Eliminating Neglected Tropical Diseases”. We also encourage you to watch IDB’s documentary on LF in Guyana and the work that is being done to control and eliminate the disease.
This week, the Soil Transmitted Helminth (STH) Coalition and various NGOs are meeting in Paris for a Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD) NGO Network meeting to discuss effective ways of advancing the control and elimination of STH (also known as intestinal worms) and other NTDs.
The STH Coalition is a diverse group of committed organizations that are actively engaging new partners from multiple sectors to advance the goal of reducing intestinal worm infections in children. The STH Coalition is made up of partners that include the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, USAID, the World Health Organization (WHO) and many other organizations. The Global Network is also happy to be a part of this group of committed organizations.
Intestinal worms are some of the most common NTDs that affect the health and livelihoods of the poorest and most marginalized communities in the world. Intestinal worms affect over one billion people world-wide and destabilize global development initiatives in multiple sectors including nutrition, education and maternal health.
To accelerate the work of the STH Coalition in forging new partnerships in the fight against intestinal worms and other NTDs, blog leading up to the NTD NDGO Network meeting in Paris.
We encourage you to share, tweet, and re-tweet content released by the STH Coalition in order to boost awareness about intestinal worms. Follow this infographic below – highlighting the importance of controlling intestinal worms.
In a fight between the world’s worst diseases and the human population, there are those that dream of a world free of diseases and poverty. Lifelines, a global health television series produced by Al Jazeera with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, highlights the efforts of global health workers and professionals who are vigorously working to end neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).
Lifelines’ “Schisosomiasis is a water-borne parasite that affects 240 million people in mostly Sub-Saharan Africa and is linked to deadly chronic diseases such as cancer and organ failure.
Lifelines also covered the innovative work of Alassane Ndiaye and Elizabeth Huttinger who are working together on “Project Crevette,” a novel experiment to restore prawns — natural predators of the disease carrying snails — in the lower Senegal River basin to control the spread of schistosomiasis. They plan on convincing political leaders responsible for the Diama dam to build a fish ladder in the dam to allow prawns to maintain their migration upstream where the snails harboring schistosomiasis are heavily populated.
Lifelines also highlighted blinding trachoma and river blindness (onchocerciasis) in the “The End is in Sight” documentary. In Part One of “Trachoma is an infectious bacterial disease of the eye that blinds approximately half a million people annually. The documentary follows Aba Wolde, an 85-year old citizen of the Amhara region, and his daughter, Amalda. They both have advanced trachoma and must walk over 20 kilometers to a health clinic to receive surgical treatment.
Part Two of “River blindness is transmitted by infected black flies and causes severe itching and visual impairment. In 1987, Merck declared that they would donate a medication called Mectizan to treat river blindness for as long as needed through the Mectizan Donation Program (MDP). In Uganda, where about 3.5 million people are infected with river blindness, Dr. Moses Katabarwa introduced an innovative administrative system of mobilizing, educating and providing communities in endemic areas with Mectizan. This approach of mass drug administration (MDA), along with environmental control measures for controlling fly larvae, has produced successful results for eliminating river blindness in multiple regions in Uganda.
Whether you’re an expert in the field of NTDs or someone who is curious to learn more about diseases that keep communities in poverty, we highly recommend that you watch these impactful stories from Aljazeera’s ‘Lifelines’ series.