Posts Tagged 2010 Global Health Council Conference

A Closer Look at Neglected Tropical Diseases

July 13th, 2010

Reposted with permission from Global Health Impact, blog for Management Sciences for Health (MSH)

Global Health Council Conference, I attended an interesting event, “Impact of Schistosomiasis and Polyparasitic Infections on Anemia, Growth and Physical Fitness in Children in Coastal Kenya” presented by  Dr. Amaya Bustinduy of Case Western Reserve University which focused on neglected tropical diseases (NTD).

Schistosomiasis remains one of the most serious and prevalent neglected tropical diseases worldwide.  According to Bustinduy, the WHO estimated that there are 235 million cases of schistosomiasis with 732 million to be at risk for contraction. 89% of  all cases live in the less-developed areas of rural sub-Saharan Africa and South America.

Schistosomiasis is associated with diseases such as anemia, growth impairment in children, and mental retardation.  The focus of Dr. Bustinduy’s ongoing study in Kenya is to “address those morbidities as part of a larger study examining the ecology of transmission of Schistosomiasis.”

The study found that the presence of schistosomiasis is associated with growth retardation and anemia, which can lead to cognition problems, decreased productivity, as well as a reduced quality of life.  The objectives of the study were to measure the prevalence of schistosomiasis and assess current trends (as related to child growth, wasting, stunting, anemia and multiple infections when compared to the WHO growth standards for children). Measurements taken included height- for- weight to assess chronic malnutrition, mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) to assess acute malnutrition and a fitness test (the 20 meter shuttle run). The study found anemia was present in 50% of the children. There was a high level of co-infection for children 5 to 7 years of age, in particular with malaria and hookworm. The goal of the research is to leverage this data in order to scientifically show a link between NTDs and poverty and create a prevention program on a national level.

With the recent G-8 announcement, it is clear that donors are becoming more interested in neglected tropical diseases (NTD) as well as analyzing the links between these diseases and how they affect  overall health outcomes such as poor nutrition and anemia-underlying factors that can often affect an individual or a community’s productivity and eventual economic gains. Therefore, there is a strong potential of integrated parasite control in efforts for poverty reduction.

Read the full study.

Wendy Qin is the Strategic Information Assistant at Management Sciences for Health.

A Sea of Numbers – Measuring Global Health

June 14th, 2010
2010 Global Health Council conference—which begins today in Washington, DC—is “Global Health: Goals & Metrics.” The conference is calling attention to a great need and opportunity for global health practitioners to collect and distribute accurate and informative figures that will impact funding for NGOs, and research and development of medications and vaccines if the need exists (which, of course, it does).

So where should you look if you’re interested in learning more about a specific global health problem? For starters, all things NTDs are found on the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases’ site, in particular the interactive map holds a wealth of information on NTDs and stories from the field. If you don’t have access to an academic research system like LexisNexis, then you should check out the Public Library of Science which is an open-access (ie. free) scholarly journal that frequently features editorials from the Sabin Vaccine Institute’s President, Dr. Peter Hotez, as well as other notable scientists and researchers. Sabin.org has information on NTDs and diseases like rotavirus, HPV, and pneumococcal disease. When I’m looking for vaccine specific data I sift through the country data from the GAVI Alliance and the World Health Organization.

One of the Pneumococcal Awareness Council of Experts’ members, Hans Rosling, has created one of the most well known and visually appealing statistic aggregators. If you haven’t heard of Gapminder then I encourage you to take a look. Here you’ll find a list of indicators which come to life when you click play. Gapminder doesn’t currently have any information on NTDs, which is unfortunate, but their a step ahead of most in recognizing the great need for global health and development data and for making their “graphs” free and easy to understand.

What are some of your favorite sources for global health statistics and data?

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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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