Category Archives: NTD Controll

More Bookworms, Fewer Intestinal Worms


Globally, more than half a billion children are infected with neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), hindering their development and ability to learn. Parasitic worm infections like roundworm, hookworm and whipworm, deprive children of the essential nutrients they need to grow and act like, well, the rambunctious children they’re supposed to be!

Watch and share this video from END7:

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Instead of being able to walk to school, concentrate in class and socialize with friends, they’re suffering from severe anemia, malnutrition, fevers and intestinal pain caused by these often chronic and simultaneous infections.

Studies have shown that deworming children can reduce school absenteeism by 25 percent, while other leading economists have found that combining deworming programs with other health interventions in already-existing schools is one of the best public health investments out there. This summer END7 worked with the ministries of health and education in Honduras to support a program that treated more than 1 million school children.

educationIt costs approximately 50 cents to treat and protect one child against the seven most common NTDs for a year. But that’s not all we need to ensure that this generation’s future politicians, mathematicians, teachers, peace builders and problem solvers get to class.

We need you. With your support, you can help us at the END7 campaign build awareness for these devastating infections and their cross-cutting solutions. By watching this short video and sharing with your friends, you can help so many kids get the education they deserve.


A Minute with NTD expert: Ellen Agler, Chief Executive Officer of the END Fund

END Fund logo

At the recent “Uniting to Combat NTDs: Translating the London Declaration into Action,” we had a chance to catch up with Ellen Agler, Chief Executive Officer of the END Fund. The END Fund is a private philanthropic fund mobilizing resources for neglected tropical diseases in Africa.

Global Network: What does it take for exposed individuals to fight NTDs?

Ellen Agler: When I was in Mali, I also got a chance to see in addition to the mass drug administration other aspects of the program. There is a huge backlog of trichiasis surgery. Blinding trachoma, if it starts advancing, it is incredibly painful… It feels like sand going over your cornea, and you will go blind if you don’t get this surgery in the advanced stages.

And to see how simple of a surgery it was- that it really only took 10 or 15 minutes. [END Fund] do have this incredible message of about 50 cents per person per year can protect you against these seven diseases that cause disability, cause suffering, cause blindness, and really change the trajectory of your life. And that is a simple message, and I think that we’re all rallying to ensure that we can prevent these diseases, we can treat them in the early stage so that no one has to suffer those diseases.

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The Neglected Egyptian Protest

About two years ago around this time, crowds of protest movements were enveloping the Middle East and North Africa. Protestors were coming together to work towards better representation of people that had the capacity to serve the larger population, rather than the upper elite. In Egypt, particularly about two years ago around this time, the former President of Egypt of 30 years, Hosni Mubarak, was forced to step down.

The Middle East region includes about 20 countries, with almost 400 million people living within its span. Of this population, about 65 million people live on less than $2 US dollars a day. Egypt has the largest number of people living in poverty in the Middle East, with 18 percent out of 80.4 million living on less than US$2 per day. Loose labor laws, a lack of strong physical infrastructure and a weakened sense of social justice amounted to an overwhelming amount of unsatisfied civilians that took to Tahrir Square in 2011 and have since been fighting for their just representation by government officials.

Economic burdens and restraints, like those that have affected a large portion of Egypt’s population, not only lead to inequality of employment, resources and infrastructure, but they can also eventually lead to the regression of physical health. When you have such a large population living in under-privileged circumstances, people walk a very thin line of safety when it comes to health services. It may not have stood out as a single issue that raised headlines during the protests, but the lack of policy that suppressed the spread of diseases is also a result of government neglect.

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Trinidad and Tobago. A Success Story in the Fight Against NTDs.

This Caribbean country has succeeded in controlling or eliminated most NTDs. Dr. Dave Chadee, Professor of Environmental Health at the University of the West Indies, shares his vision about this success story, and highlights ideas that can be applied in other countries where the Neglected Tropical Diseases Initiative for LAC is implementing several projects.

Dr. Chadee, what is the situation regarding NTDs in Trinidad and Tobago?

The situation regarding NTDs in my country is quite different from that of our neighbor’s. The country has eliminated lymphatic filariasis (LF) as well as malaria, and leprosy has been reduced to less than 1 case in every 100,000 inhabitants so it is no longer considered a major public health problem. We have also reduced the incidence of hookworms and recent surveys have not found cases of this infection. Today, the NTDs that are still considered a real challenge are yellow fever, which still persists in some pockets in forested areas (a zoonosis), and dengue, the most extensive  and problematic vector-borne disease in Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean region.

Dr. Dave Chadee

In your opinion, what are the main factors that have helped control and eliminate these diseases in the country?

Well, first of all the fact that Trinidad and Tobago has an universal, free to all health care system that has helped in controlling or eliminating most of the local and imported diseases. This is an advantage compared to other countries in the Caribbean region, because offering free treatments to all for any NTD makes it easier for people to seek help when they need it, no matter their ability to pay for these services and whether they are nationals or non nationals.

I also think that having staff that have received specific training on NTDs is key, and not only do they need to acquire the knowledge: they need to keep informed of new developments in their field by receiving updates or refresher training.

Another success story for the country involves the strategy against NTDs – which involves continuing monitoring and evaluation activities. We know of programs that have implemented wonderful strategies but did not incorporate internal audits to check their effectiveness, strengths and weaknesses over time, significantly reducing the efficacy of the programs.

Last but not least, I believe that the political support of local authorities is key, both for the implementation of effective programs and to keep morale high among health workers. NTD work can be tedious because it is a battle that is never complete, so keeping the morale of the teams high, making workers feel appreciated, is very important.

What is the importance of vector management in the fight against NTDs?

Our experience has demonstrated that integrated vector management can help combat these diseases more effectively. At my university we have developed vector control strategies that are effective against Culex quinquefasciatus and other container breeding mosquitoes. Also, our research demonstrates that integrated vector management can be useful if used together with mass drug administration programs, and can help raise awareness about LF and other NTDs among communities.

Based on your latest research about transmission of LF, what are the changes you have observed in the habits of the Culex mosquito in the last years?

Based on my research, there is evidence that the blood feeding times of the Culex quinquefasciatus mosquito, the main vector for the transmission of LF, have shifted significantly. Previous studies showed the peak biting times in Trinidad and Tobago was between 10 pm and 3 am. Now we are finding a bimodal pattern with an early peak between 7 and 9 pm, as well as the 10-3am peak. This shift may be due to any of several factors like the use of air conditioning and fans in the household and the change of light regimens in cities such as the use of indoor lights and security lights from dusk to dawn. This means that the Culex mosquitoes  have access to people  between 7 and 11 pm, when they  are relaxing  at home and are likely to be casually dressed and  exposing larger skin surface area to foraging mosquitoes. In addition, our preliminary study shows more biting in areas around the legs and arms, thereby increasing the possibility of LF transmission at an earlier time during the night than previously thought. We think it is important to take these factors into account when designing programs to fight LF and other vector-born NTDs.



Dr. Dave D. Chadee is a Professor of Environmental Health in the Department of Life Sciences, UWI. His breakthrough research includes the development of the Xenomonitoring/PCR approach to Lymphatic filariasis, a new assay method for detecting mosquito preferences, the pupal index for dengue epidemiology and control, detected and eradicated two malaria outbreaks in Trinidad and the paper published in Science entitled, Genetics: a breakthrough for global public health.

Prof. Chadee has published over 200 papers and book chapters and has numerous collaborations in the USA and the UK. Prof. Chadee is a graduate of Naparima College, Trinidad, Dalhousie University (BSc Hons.), The University of the West Indies (MPhil) and the University of Dundee (PhD, M.PH, DSc).

Agustin Caceres is a Communications and Outreach Officer in the Social Protection and Health Division of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in Washington DC.