Category Archives: de-worming

Helen Keller International and TOMS: Motivating Community Drug Distributors in Sierra Leone

Fatmata

 

Efforts to fight Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) are truly massive undertakings, since their success hinges upon the ability of national NTD programs to literally reach millions of people and provide each and every person with preventive medications.

Sierra Leone is one of many countries that has risen to this challenge. With a population exceeding 6 million people, the country’s NTD program relies on approximately 30,000 Community Drug Distributors (CDDs) to distribute NTD medications throughout its 12 rural districts.

And if recruiting, organizing and managing that many CDDs weren’t enough of a challenge, there’s one other detail that’s worth noting. Although these 30,000 CDDs must spend days, if not weeks, ensuring that their communities receive drugs that will prevent blindness, kidney and liver disease, malnutrition, and physical deformities, none receive any payment for their services.

In an effort to motivate and reward the CDDs for their important work and to reduce attrition, Helen Keller International (HKI) and the National NTD Program have partnered with TOMS, a US-based, philanthropically minded company that has given away over 45 million pairs of shoes to children in over 70 countries. To date, Sierra Leone has received two shipments of TOMS Shoes—over 300,000 pairs –between 2013-2014 to distribute to the CDDS and their children.

In 2013, each CDD received three pairs of shoes for his or her family; this was increased to five pairs in 2014. Shoes were also distributed to others whose support has been instrumental to the success of the country’s NTD mass drug administration (MDA), such as community leaders, peripheral health unit (PHU) staff, and members of the district health management team.

From a logistical standpoint, ensuring that CDDs receive these shoes is almost as complex an undertaking as conducting the MDAs themselves for Helen Keller International (HKI), the sub-grantee organization that supports Sierra Leone’s NTD Program in partnership with END in Africa’s administrator, FHI360. First, HKI helps the National NTD Program determine the total number of participating CDDs and estimate the total number of shoes needed, as well as the number of pairs per size. An order is then placed with TOMS Shoes.

Once the shoes arrive at the Freetown port several months later, they must be trucked to six distribution points throughout the country. Shoes are then divided up by district; and the districts assume the responsibility for ensuring that their PHUs receive enough shoes for all the CDDs in their areas. Finally, the CDDs receive shoes for themselves and their children.

The children are ecstatic about getting a new pair of TOMS Shoes. Eight-year-old Fatmata remembers the day she received her pair of TOMS Shoes: “My old shoes are worn out and I was thinking if my parents can afford to buy me another pair of shoes before the opening of school.” Her grandfather appreciated their value as well, noting that they’ll not only motivate Fatmata to go to school, but they’ll also help reduce her risk of hookworm infection from walking barefoot.

Despite the challenges, the National NTD Program and HKI officials agree that getting shoes to each of the CDDs is well worth the considerable effort it takes to administer the initiative. After all, the National NTD Program would not be able to conduct MDAs without the CDDs; indeed, their success hinges on the work of the CDDs. Without their commitment and hard work, millions of persons would still be suffering from preventable and treatable diseases.

HKI and Sierra Leone’s NTD Program look forward to continuing to partner with TOMS, and plan to distribute additional TOMS shoes in 2015.

This blog was originally published by End Neglected Tropical Diseases in Africa.

Photo: Wearing her new TOMS shoes, Fatmata gets a hug from her father, a volunteer who distributes medicines to prevent NTDs in Sierra Leone. Credit Helen Keller International

An Open Letter: The Case for Deworming Children

The following letter was signed by the Global Network and more than 20 other organizations, affirming the importance of deworming programs.

Like vaccines, deworming programs offer children living in communities without clean water and sanitation a foundation for improved health and a world of opportunity.

870 million children around the world are at risk from soil transmitted helminths (STH), or parasitic intestinal worms. Intestinal worms are diseases of poverty, endemic in communities with limited access to clean water and proper sanitation facilities. STH-related infections cause anemia, malabsorption of nutrients, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. Children suffering from STH infections face impaired cognitive development and reduced quality of life over the long-term.

As scientists, practitioners and child health advocates working in government, business and civil society, we are committed to ensuring that children around the world have the chance to live worm-free, healthy, and productive lives.

On July 23, two replication studies and one systematic review were released that call into question some of the benefits of mass deworming programs. The systematic review by the Cochrane Collaboration does not take into consideration a number of recent studies that demonstrate the health, educational, and economic benefits of deworming. This evidence base has informed – and continues to inform – good public policy.

Mass deworming programs reach millions of at-risk children with safe, effective drugs. Often administered in schools, these programs represent the best in collaboration across governments, nongovernmental organizations, donors, pharmaceutical companies, community leaders, health workers, and teachers. Globally, national deworming programs are one of the most cost-effective interventions in global health and development—and they are key to the World Health Organization’s strategy to reducing the morbidity caused by intestinal worm infections in children.

A growing body of evidence affirms the positive impacts of mass deworming: Worm-free children have a better shot at healthy, productive lives. We are united in our commitment to mass deworming as one of the most cost-effective ways to provide infected children with greater quality of life and better health and education outcomes.

Signatories

Organizations

Banka BioLoo
Children’s Investment Fund Foundation
Children Without Worms
Evidence Action
Food for the Hungry
HDI (Health & Development International)
Helen Keller International
Ivo de Carneri Foundation, Italy
Ivo de Carneri Foundation, Zanzibar
Kenya Medical Research Institute
Merck
Mundo Sano Foundation
Porridge and Rice
Public Health Laboratory- Ivo de Carneri, (PHL-IdC) WHO Collaborating Centre for NTDs
Schistosomiasis Consortium for Operational Research and Evaluation (SCORE)
Sightsavers
The Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases
The MENTOR Initiative
Schistosomiasis Control Initiative
WaterAid
World Concern
World Vision International

Individuals

Dr. Clayton Ajello, Senior Technical Advisor, Vitamin Angels Alliance, Inc.
Dr. Yahya Al-Sawafy, Resident Representative, Ivo de Carneri Foundation, Zanzibar Branch
Dr. Marco Albonico, Ivo de Carneri Foundation, Milan, Italy
Professor Alan Fenwick, Director, Schistosomiasis Control Initiative
Dr. Teshome Gebre Kanno, Regional Director for Africa, International Trachoma Initiative, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Seung Lee, Senior Director, School Health and Nutrition, Save the Children USA
Dr. Saleh Juma Mohammed, NTD Coordinator, Ministry of Health, Pemba Island, Zanzibar
Stephanie Ogden, Senior Water Policy Advisor, CARE
Dr. CR Revankar, Consultant, Elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases
Peter Rodrigues, Deputy Director, World Food Programme
Tala de los Santos, Global Program Leader, Diagnostics, PATH
Dr. Lorenzo Savioli MD, Chair of the Executive Group of the Global Schistosomiasis Alliance (GSA)

Better Together: Integrating Immunization and Deworming during World Immunization Week

 

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Beginning tomorrow, global health partners around the world will be celebrating World Immunization Week. While the week’s events primarily focus on achieving equitable access to immunization, the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases is particularly excited about the opportunities World Immunization Week presents for integrating deworming and immunization campaigns.

In Honduras, for example, the Ministry of Health has used World Immunization Week as a platform to deworm hundreds of thousands of children throughout the country.

Read our Honduras case study here: HONDURAS: LEADING THE WAY IN THE AMERICAS THROUGH INTEGRATED EFFORTS TO TREAT NEGLECTED TROPICAL DISEASES (NTDS)

Integrating deworming with immunization campaigns under the umbrella of World Immunization Week is an extremely cost-effective way to prevent many diseases at the same time. By providing deworming medicine alongside immunizations, Honduras is maximizing the impact of its health interventions.

Honduras has also integrated water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) practices, as well as vitamin A supplementation into World Immunization Week. Since poor WASH contributes to increased intestinal worm infections, and intestinal worms can worsen and intensify malnutrition, integrating these three health interventions is essential for maximizing the health of children.

Honduras’ unique and successfully-integrated approach to fighting intestinal worms should be celebrated and replicated. To learn more about the country’s efforts, read our case study here.

How You Contributed to the Movement against NTDs in 2013 – and How We Can Do Even More

 

As 2013 comes to a close, we have reason to celebrate. END7 supporters helped treat entire communities of people suffering from neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) in Honduras, Myanmar, and Kenya, and our partners have completed treatment programs for millions of people in other countries. We’re making progress in the fight against NTDs.

The hundreds of thousands of children, mothers, families and communities who benefit from NTD treatment motivate us to continue the fight; mothers like Alice who pray every day for the health of their families, and sisters like Neema who want to be healthy and free of parasites so they can play and learn with their siblings.

Watch our new video to see the people who are benefitting from our work. We want to say thank you for making a difference in their lives.

The effort to end NTDs includes a diverse group of global partners, including the World Health Organization (WHO), national governments, pharmaceutical companies, corporations and individuals. Just this year, world leaders took notice and stood up for the 1.4 billion people suffering from NTDs.  The World Health Assembly, the African Union and the Organization of America States all made commitments to end NTDs. Governments across the world made national plans to end NTDs within their own countries — and when so many END7 supporters spoke out on behalf of those suffering from  NTDs, the United Nations responded with a letter stating that the fight against NTDs is “paramount to the global efforts to eradicate poverty.”

We’ve come a long way, but we can do even more in 2014 with your help. We’re ready to expand our efforts next year and reach even more communities in more countries. Your donations help deliver medicine to hard to reach places, train healthcare workers to administer treatment, educate people about NTDs, prepare for annual pill distributions and help communities take ownership of their own treatment programs.

If we want to improve the health of the most marginalized communities, enhance economic performance and contribute to broader development goals, we need to press on in the fight against NTDs. Will you stand with us? Donate, share our video or start your own campaign to amplify our efforts and improve the lives of those who need it most.