Archive for the Tropical Medicine category

What’s the Matter with the Water?

April 12th, 2011

By: Amanda Miller

Many of us don’t think about infectious tropical diseases in the United States or Europe – but it was less than a couple hundred years ago that a cholera epidemic spread throughout Europe.  One outbreak in September 1854 killed over 500 people in just ten days.   A search for the cause and cure was unsuccessful.

NTDs?

Well, we have the ability to think about NTDs through many different lenses.  One is through treatment and reducing prevalence.  Another is routine preventative chemotherapy through mass drug administration.   And yet another is through long-term solutions like water and sanitation.  But is one good without the other?

Photo taken by author

We know that poor sanitation and contaminated water contributes to the transmission of NTDs.  Of the seven most common NTDs, the transmission of six is directly related to unsafe water, inadequate sanitation and insufficient hygiene.

This is why water, sanitation, or hygiene (WASH) becomes a key factor in NTD initiatives.  Of course, long-term solutions are expensive and complicated.  Behavior change is slow, and infrastructure building is even slower.  But since we found out 200 years ago that water is inextricably linked to many infectious diseases in developing countries, isn’t it time we focused on the root cause?  It all points towards clean water and sanitation.

If Dr. Snow hadn’t pulled the handle off of the Broad Street pump in the middle of a cholera epidemic, how many more people would have died before we figured out what to do?

Amanda Miller is the Asia Program Officer for the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases. Amanda has public health experience in Rwanda and Botswana, and in her free time enjoys knitting.

Carter Center Health Programs and Partners Celebrate Record Progress, 35.8 Million Treatments in Fight Against Neglected Tropical Diseases in 2010

March 30th, 2011

By The Carter Center

The Carter Center’s health programs enabled a record 35.8 million treatments in 2010 to protect against neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) in thousands of communities in some of the most remote and forgotten places in Africa and the Americas.

Since 1986, The Carter Center has been a leader in the control, elimination, and eradication of neglected diseases, working at the grassroots in partnership with ministries of health and low-resource communities to conduct health education and mass drug administration, and to develop health service infrastructure.  The Carter Center’s 10 health programs are data-driven and seek to help fill gaps in health care, looking for opportunities to eliminate or eradicate diseases wherever possible, and to control diseases that cannot be completely eliminated.  Center disease interventions currently address Guinea worm, river blindness, trachoma, lymphatic filariasis, schistosomiasis, and malaria.

The Carter Center conducts rigorous annual peer reviews and evaluations in conjunction with ministries of health from 14 countries and other partner organizations.

“We don’t just rely on increased treatment numbers to tell us our efforts are working to improve health. The Carter Center uses evidence-based practices to carefully evaluate whether our interventions are significantly reducing the burden of disease,” said Dr. Donald Hopkins, vice president of the Carter Center’s Health Programs.

The 2010 statistics confirm dramatic improvements in public health achieved as a direct result of the Center’s disease efforts in partner countries.

2010 Achievements

Read more: Carter Center Health Programs and Partners Celebrate Record Progress, 35.8 Million Treatments in Fight Against Neglected Tropical Diseases in 2010

The Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases Partners with Eisai Co., Ltd.

March 15th, 2011

The Global Network to provide advocacy and resource mobilization support to complement Eisai Co., Ltd.’s historic DEC donation to the World Health Organization (WHO)

March 15, 2011- The Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases announced today that it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Eisai Co., Ltd to provide advocacy support for Eisai’s diethylcarbamazine (generic name, DEC) donation to the World Health Organization (WHO). This donation is a significant contribution to the global neglected tropical disease (NTD) response and will expand the pharmaceutical industry’s role in global health initiatives to combat NTDs.  Through collaboration around advocacy activities related to the DEC donation, the Global Network will assist Eisai in forging and maintaining strong ties with international agencies, foundations, corporate and government agencies working to combat NTDs.  The Global Network will work with Eisai on its planning, reporting, and implementation activities around the DEC donation and will provide Eisai with technical advice for future decision-making on NTD initiatives.  Eisai will work with the Global Network to deepen its engagement in NTD policy, advocacy, and resource mobilization efforts, particularly in Asia.

Read more: The Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases Partners with Eisai Co., Ltd.

Letter to a Parasite

March 1st, 2011

By: Amanda Miller

Dear Lymphatic Filariasis,

You disgust me.  You are a parasite.  You use unsuspecting mosquitoes to spread thread-like worms into unsuspecting humans.  You occupy the lymphatic system in humans, and in severe cases, you lead to elephantiasis.  In case you didn’t know, that’s massive and painful swelling of limbs.  You cause pain, immobility, and problems for human beings that happen to be mothers, brothers, bread-winners, fathers, teachers, workers, sisters, cousins, friends.  You’ve never bothered to ask for permission or wondered how your parasitic existence would affect their lives.  To be honest, I’m pretty angry about this.

In fact, we use your name -parasite- to mean something so self-serving that would attach itself to someone else and live off of their life.  Yes, we may have referred to past partners, boyfriends and girlfriends as parasites (evidently, relationships that don’t work out).  We use your name for unsolicited malicious computer programs that destroy our hard drives.  We use your name to talk about things that disgust us.  Yes, we humans love a good analogy.

Read more: Letter to a Parasite

An Eye on the World: The New Global Atlas for Trachoma

February 23rd, 2011

Interactive media is part of the new wave of organizational communication methods and a wonderful example of this has been launched today with the new global atlas of trachoma called Trachoma Atlas. Trachoma Atlas is the brainchild of several collaborating partners including the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, the International Trachoma Initiative at The Task Force for Global Health, Atlanta, GA and The Carter Center in Atlanta, GA. They are funded by a generous donation from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Taken from CoffeeKecs Flickr Photostream

Read more: An Eye on the World: The New Global Atlas for Trachoma

Spotlight: Pivotal ISID-NTD Meeting

February 18th, 2011

Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts are two of the nations largest hub for global health research and development. From July 8th-10th 2011,  International Society of Infectious Diseases (ISID) will be hosting their annual ISID-Neglected Tropical Diseases Meeting (ISID-NTD)  in Cambridge, MA. The meeting will be open to all and will provide space for dialogue and communication between individuals and organizations involved in efforts to eliminate NTDs around the world.

This is a rare opportunity to learn from world leaders in the fields of global health, tropical medicine, public policy and social research under one roof, to understand the depth of what is happening, and what are the next actionable steps, to eliminate neglected diseases.

Some of the confirmed speakers are:

Peter Hotez: The George Washington University; Sabin Vaccine Institute

Uche Amazigo: African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control

Steven Ault: Pan American Health Organization

Gautam Biswas: World Health Organization

Donald Bundy:The World Bank

Seunghee Lee: Save the Children USA

The first keynote session will be held on July 8th with a talk by David Molyneux,  Director of the Lymphatic Filariasis Support Centre in the United Kingdom, titled: An Opportunity to End Neglect. The last session will feature a talk by Peter Hotez, President of Sabin Vaccine Institute, titled: Future Research and Development Opportunities.

ISID is dedicated to improving the care of patients with infectious diseases, the training of clinicians and researchers in infectious diseases and microbiology, and the control of infectious diseases around the world.

To learn more about this organization, visit their website here!
For updated information about this pivotal international meeting visit NTD.ISID.org

Multi-Insect Repellant.

February 15th, 2011

Taken from Eideard.wordpress.com

Today, Indian-Commodity. com, an online resource for the latest news in the Indian market,  highlighted Indias Defense Research and Development Organizations (DRDO)  new partnership with Jyothy Laboratories Ltd in formulating and distributing multi insect repellent, in various formats, to the masses for their protection from painful insect bites and vector borne diseases as a spin off defense technology for civil society in India and abroad.  After decades of research, DRDO has successfully developed a new molecule Dietthyl phenyl Acetamide (DEPA), a breakthrough technology to fight away deadly mosquitoes which transmit diseases like dengue [...] and elephantiasis, both of which are common neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).  These multi-insect repellents will come in the form of cream, spray, lotion, and wipes.  Yesterday afternoon, the company launched the products at a private function in New Delhi, India.  How this product will be distributed and whether this product will be available to those who can’t afford to buy it is still unclear.

Jyothy Laboratories, a product creation and management company based in India, has been assigned the task of developing the technology to manufacture the repellent under the strict supervision of the Indian Defense Ministry.  Today, [they have a] pan Indian presence with brands catering to the needs of consumers across the length and breadth of the nation.

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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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