IMA Tanzania a Key Player in Massive National Vaccine and MDA Campaign

 

Image from IMA World Health

Image from IMA World Health

The Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases is happy to share news from IMA World Health. A first of its kind for Tanzania, the national co-implemented immunization and mass drug administration strengthened the country’s integrated efforts to control and eliminate neglected tropical diseases. 

On Saturday, October 18, IMA World Health participated in a special event in Dodoma, Tanzania, to launch the 2014 national co-implemented immunization and mass drug administration (MDA) campaign to protect 21 million children against measles, rubella and neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). One of the largest public health intervention efforts ever staged in Tanzania, the 2014 campaign will run from October 18-24.

The annual event was convened and attended by the Government of Tanzania, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the World Health Organization (WHO), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and numerous other partners.

For the past four years, IMA has been MDA for NTDs in Tanzania through the USAID-funded ENVISION Project, led by RTI International. With over $5 million in annual support, IMA has distributed preventive treatment to more than 14 million people across 9 regions of Tanzania, as well as trained 5,000 health workers and over 10,000 community volunteers.

Jim Cox, Country Director for IMA Tanzania, commented in a speech at the October 18 event, “As IMA celebrates its 20th anniversary in Tanzania… we are proud to be part of this first-ever joint NTD and immunization campaign, which lays the groundwork for healthy communities throughout Tanzania.”

IMA works with the Tanzania Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MOHSW) to support implementation of the integrated five-disease NTD control program targeting onchocerciasis, schistosomiasis, trachoma, LF, and STH using MDA in the community and schools.

Photo from IMA World Health

Introducing END7′s October Student of the Month, Meghna Purkayastha

 

Smith

Each month, END7 honors one student who has made a significant contribution to our growing movement of student advocates dedicated to seeing the end of NTDs. We are very proud to introduce our October Student of the Month, Meghna Purkayastha, a junior at Smith College. Meghna, a biology major with a minor in economics, shares:

“I learned of END7 from a talk hosted by my research professor at Smith, Dr. Steve Williams. He introduced Dr. Peter Hotez who discussed the microbiology of neglected tropical diseases and the work of the END7 campaign. Currently, I am studying the NTD lymphatic filariasis in my research lab with Dr. Williams. We are looking at plant-based anti-parasitic compounds to fight the disease. I believe public and global health are at the forefront of the economic, political, and social issues of the developing world. As an active member of the Student Government Association at Smith, I hope to educate young activists and students in my community about the END7 campaign.

“I was recently invited to speak at an event hosted by EKTA, a South Asian student group on campus. At Mehndi Night 2014, I presented the END7 goals, and since Mehndi Night was the day before the Article 25 Day of Action, I also discussed the importance of END7’s collaboration with the Article 25 campaign to raise awareness about the right to health included in Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I showed END7’s Mission in a Minute video, and discussed the UN Sustainable Development Goals. I was able to raise about $130 in donations in just five minutes! I took a picture of the crowd and sent it to the Article 25 activists, and even set up a Photo Booth for the audience to stand in front of that stated “Article 25.” Mehndi Night had multiple performances and food from South Asia that featured a dance performance by my dance team SC Masti! I was excited to combine my two passions: educating others about END7, and dance! I thought presenting END7 at this event was pertinent because of the magnitude of NTDs in South Asia. I look forward to continue educating my peers about END7 in the future.”

Meghna’s collaboration with EKTA for Mehndi Night is a great example of the partnerships needed to drive the effort against NTDs forward. We are excited to see students like Meghna linking the END7 campaign to students groups in their university communities, and we are so grateful for the support of the Smith community!

We are are excited to see our community of student supporters like Meghna continue to grow. If you are ready to get your school involved in END7’s work, contact student coordinator Emily on Facebook or at Emily.Conron@sabin.org to learn how you can get started!

#IAmTropMed: Flipping the Microscope to Tell a New Set of Stories

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This blog post was originally published on Making Malaria History. 

Anyone working in global health will say the same thing: the people impacted by our work is the reason we do what we do. Underlying medical vocabulary, data spreadsheets, and peer-reviewed journals are millions of stories, people whose lives were saved and improved thanks to creative and dedicated minds.

Indeed, researchers and program implementers should be quick to celebrate these successes. But there is another equally important set of stories that is often overlooked: the stories of the researchers themselves.

This year at the American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH) Annual Meeting, we’re flipping the microscope to hear from the meeting participants, the dedicated professionals behind the scenes: Why did you decide to go into your respective fields? What gets you out of bed and into the lab/field every morning? What promising innovation are you most excited about? What do you like to do for fun?

Don’t be shy. Participation is easy:

1. Take a photo of yourself holding a sign that says “#IAmTropMed.” You can take one in advance, or take advantage of the photo booth next to the registration area at the conference.

2. Share the photo on your organizational or personal Twitter or Facebook profile using the hashtag #IAmTropMed during the week of the ASTMH Annual Meeting.

3. Include a caption that highlights the reason you are involved in this work. Example: Because malaria elimination is the only long-term goal.

4. In your post, you can also link to more information: a blog or webpage about your work, journal articles, or details on a session or symposium you are hosting at the ASTMH Annual Meeting.

@Global_Network will be tweeting and participating in next week’s ASTMH meeting. Stay tuned for tweets and stories! We encourage you to share your own using #IAmTropMed too!

Newly-Formed German NTD Network Poised to Advance NTD Advocacy

 

Logo_DNTDsOn September 22nd, the Global Network was thrilled to support a launch event for the German Network against Neglected Tropical Diseases. Stakeholders from civil society, the scientific community and the private sector from across Germany convened in Berlin to participate in a special parliamentary evening introducing the newly-formed alliance, which is dedicated to controlling and eliminating 10 neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) by 2020.

By joining with the United States and the United Kingdom — two leaders in providing funding for NTD programs — Germany has the potential to play a key role in accelerating efforts to control and eliminate NTDs.

The German Network launch event was covered by seven different German media outlets and attended by a broad group of more than 50 participants, including the German government. The Global Network’s Managing Director, Dr. Neeraj Mistry, provided the closing presentation, identifying opportunities for German partners to help fill the current NTD funding gap.

Dr. Jürgen May, professor at Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine Hamburg and spokesman for the Network, expressed his confidence in the new coalition. “The members are united by their shared desire to eliminate diseases such as schistosomiasis and African sleeping sickness, which primarily occur in tropical countries and typically thrive in impoverished settings. The Ebola epidemic in West Africa is also now showing how important it is to bolster efforts to fight poverty-related diseases. Many of us have been involved in this arena for a long time. Collaboration between non-governmental organizations, science and industry will make these initiatives even more efficient.”

After participating in the successful launch event, Neeraj Mistry left feeling confident that the newly-formed German Network is well-poised to further advocate for NTD efforts around the world.

Germany is now the second European country to form a coalition dedicated to controlling and eliminating NTDs — following the footsteps of the UK Coalition against Neglected Tropical Diseases. Established  in 2011, the UK Coalition has been hard at work raising awareness primarily among UK policy makers, urging for greater cross-sectoral integration of NTD programs with water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and education initiatives and increased funding and better coordination for existing NTD control efforts. Thanks to the efforts of the UK Coalition and others, NTDs are now seen as a key barrier to attaining the existing Millennium Development Goals and successfully alleviating poverty within the most marginalized communities.

Both the German and UK coalitions are also crucial partners in advocating for the inclusion of NTDs in the post-2015 development agenda. The impact of NTDs stretches across multiple development sectors, including WASH, nutrition, and maternal and child health. Therefore, long-term sustainable development, poverty reduction and improved health outcomes cannot be successfully achieved without simultaneously addressing NTDs. The NGO, academic and private sector representatives involved in both the German Network and UK NTD Coalition have a unique opportunity to help ensure NTDs remain on the world’s development agenda.

The Global Network congratulates the German NTD Network for its successful launch this fall, and looks forward to its continued progress in advocating for the control and elimination of NTDs. For more information about the German Networks, you may visit their website here.