Tag Archives: NTDs

Kicking Off World Immunization Week with a Honduran Celebration

 

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This post was originally published on the Sabin Vaccine Institute’s blog as part of their World Immunization Week blog series. 

Honduras will kick off Vaccination Week in the Americas (VWA) today with a day-long ceremony highlighting the importance of vaccines and other health interventions like deworming and vitamin A supplementation in improving health. The Honduras ceremony, taking place on Monday the 28th in Tegucigalpa, will run alongside World Immunization Week.

VWA represents a unique opportunity to deliver vaccines and other life-saving health interventions to those who need them most. Deworming, vitamin A supplementation, screenings for diabetes, Body Mass Index and blood pressure measurement, will all occur under the umbrella of VWA. In addition, VWA will serve as a platform for civil registration of children in remote communities, sexual and reproductive health education, and delivery of medical and dental care to out-of-regular access groups, among others.

In addition to partners from PAHO, UNICEF, GAVI and the government of Honduras, Sabin will be attending the VWA launch event to further promote vaccines, deworming, and a holistic, integrated approach to ensuring good health and well being.

Because Sabin’s Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases focuses on mass drug administration for neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) like intestinal worms, the integration of deworming into VWA is of particular importance. The benefits of controlling intestinal worms through deworming extend to better health, better growth, better learning, and better earning.

The inclusion of deworming as part of VWA – and even more – as part of the regular schedule of vaccines –is extremely cost-effective. All children at risk for intestinal worms at the national level could receive treatment at almost no additional cost. Nurses and community health workers who give children their shots can easily administer deworming pills to these children during these scheduled immunization campaigns.

Additionally, treating intestinal worms helps make other interventions more effective, since the bodies and immune systems of children free of parasites are better prepared to benefit from nutrition, health care and immunizations.

In Honduras, more than a million school-aged children are at risk for intestinal worms and the prevalence of intestinal worms is estimated to be greater than 50 percent in almost half the municipalities. Countries like Honduras have a lot to gain from integrating deworming into regular vaccination programs. This is an effective solution that will boost economic potential and the health of the country’s population.

The integrated delivery package in Honduras’ Vaccination Week in the Americas (launch) is an excellent example for how vaccination and deworming can work together to provide better health for all. We’re looking forward to promoting and participating in such an important event and we encourage other countries to follow the example.

Social Media: For a recap on today’s events, check out the Global Network blog later tonight, 4/28, and follow along with the hashtag #VWALaunch. 

Uniting to Combat Neglected Tropical Diseases: A Conversation on Progress

 

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Two years ago, global health leaders convened in London to hold the most significant international meeting on neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) in history. The event galvanized major commitments from a diverse set of partners to eliminate or control 10 NTDs by 2020 – these commitments are now known as the London Declaration.

This Wednesday on April 2nd, The Global Network will once again join this unique group of partners to discuss progress toward the promises made in 2012.

Since the London Declaration on NTDs, The US, UK, and the World Bank have deepened their commitments, and NTDs are now being prioritized in global health and development agendas. In addition, control, prevention and research efforts for NTDs have expanded.

The London declaration also sparked new collaboration between public and private partners. These partnerships are identifying innovative, concrete solutions for delivering good health and strong economic futures to the world’s poorest people.

The progress we’ve seen since 2012 is also due in large part to the work of endemic countries in drafting and implementing national NTD plans. Through their national plans, countries burdened by NTDs are funding and driving their own solutions.

We invite you to tune into a live webcast of the April 2nd event in Paris. You’ll hear from Bill Gates, Co-chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General, World Health Organization, along with other distinguished panelists.

Feel free to tweet about the event using the hashtag #NTD progress. The live webcast will run from 12:00 to 1:30 EST. To tune in, click here.

New Manuals on NTDs for WASH Practitioners

 

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Over 50 country-specific versions as well as a global version of “WASH and the Neglected Tropical Diseases: A Manual for WASH Implementers” are available to download at http://www.washntds.org.

By Courtney McGuire

Courtney McGuire works with Children Without Worms and the International Trachoma Initiative, and is one of the authors of “WASH and the NTDs: A Manual for WASH Practitioners.”

Saturday, March 22 is World Water Day—an important occasion not just for the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector, but for the neglected tropical disease (NTD) sector as well. Without WASH, we won’t be able to defeat NTDs such as soil-transmitted helminths, schistosomiasis, trachoma, lymphatic filariasis, and Guinea worm. Now, efforts to better coordinate the work of both sectors have new support with resources such as the WASH/NTD toolkit now available on www.washntds.org.

The toolkit—which includes “WASH and the NTDs: A Manual for WASH Implementers,” an upcoming e-course, and the website www.washntds.org–is designed to give WASH practitioners essential knowledge about how their work impacts NTDs. With this knowledge, WASH organizations can better target their activities to communities where NTDs occur, as well as demonstrate the impact of WASH on disease outcomes to help mobilize greater investment in WASH.

There is a growing recognition within the NTD community that WASH must be a part of the planning and implementation process for NTD control efforts. With this toolkit, both the WASH and NTD sectors can explore new opportunities for cross-sectoral partnerships and coordination at the implementation level.

One example of successful WASH/NTD collaboration highlighted in the toolkit comes from Ethiopia, where ORBIS, an eye care organization, and WaterAid worked together to combat blinding trachoma. ORBIS recognized the need to work with WASH partners to implement the SAFE strategy to combat the blinding disease trachoma – which stands for Surgery, Antibiotics, Facial Cleanliness, and Environmental Improvement. In order to help implement the F and E components of the strategy, ORBIS reached out to WaterAid Ethiopia to implement WASH activities in Gama Gafa zone in 2007. A multi-year agreement to bring WASH services to targeted communities has resulted in WASH access increasing from around 4 percent to over 92 percent in target districts as well as reduced levels of infection with trachoma.

In addition to featuring helpful case studies of WASH/NTD collaboration such as this, the toolkit provides techniques and practical materials useful for coordinating on joint monitoring, advocacy, and implementation. Over 50 country-specific versions of the manual are available, allowing users to access maps and specific information about the NTDs that occur in their countries of practice.

The toolkit itself represents an extensive collaborative effort between the WASH and NTD sectors. In December 2012, a diverse group of academics, practitioners, advocates, researchers, and organizations from both sectors came together for a two-day WASH/NTD roundtable discussion at The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The discussion led to the production of a framework that would guide the toolkit’s development, which was undertaken by the International Trachoma Initiative (ITI) and Children Without Worms (CWW), and funded by the Sightsavers Innovation Fund with support from the  UK government. Numerous organizations from both the WASH and NTD sectors contributed content and feedback to the effort.

On this World Water Day, we invite you to visit www.washntds.org, and to contribute to the conversation by tweeting your stories of collaboration @WASH_NTDs. Together we can work towards a world where clean, safe water is abundant for drinking and hygiene, where sanitation services are available for everyone—a world where no one suffers from NTDs.

WASH/NTDs

The NTD and WASH Index Map is a simple way to visualize areas with low WASH coverage and high levels of NTDs, including soil-transmitted helminths, schistosomiasis, trachoma, lymphatic filariasis and Guinea worm. Lighter colors indicate higher WASH access and fewer NTDs. Darker colors indicate a country has lower WASH access and more NTDs. Visit www.washntds.org for more information about how this map was developed and to view the data underlying the map.

House of Lords Debate in UK Parliament Highlights Advancements Made on NTDs

 

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Last week, Baroness Hayman, Board Trustee at the Sabin Vaccine Institute and Vice-chair of the UK’s All- Party Parliamentary Group on Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases, chaired a House of Lords debate on the progress made in combating neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) since the 2012 London Declaration and what is required to drive future success. The members of the House of Lords particularly emphasized the strong link between NTDs and poverty, reiterating United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s acknowledgement that “poverty reduction and the elimination of NTDs go hand-in-hand.”

The Lords discussed a wide-array of important topics, including: efforts to include NTDs in the post-2015 development agenda; cross-sector collaboration to create sustainable change; pharmaceutical company donations; the importance of scaling up cost-effective mass drug administration (MDA) programs; and the urgent need to mobilize resources from additional donor and endemic governments to close the NTD funding gap.

Many NTD partners were also acknowledged, including the Sabin Vaccine Institute, the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases, the END7 campaign and its “Celebrity Shocker” video, and Dr. Peter Hotez; the Schistosomiasis Control Initiative (SCI) and Dr. Alan Fenwick; the London Centre for Neglected Tropical Disease Research; and Sightsavers.

Below are key highlights from several parliamentarians. To read the full transcript, please click here.

Baroness Hayman:“The London declaration of 2012, whose second anniversary we mark with this debate, was hugely important, because it brought together funders, both national and philanthropic, pharmaceutical companies that donate the drugs necessary for mass drug administration programmes and endemic countries themselves in an effort to co-ordinate the fight against these diseases. Together with the ongoing support of the World Health Organisation, which has championed this work in recent years, we have seen a significant shift in the global prioritisation of neglected tropical diseases. Their inclusion in the healthy lives goal of the high-level panel on the post-2015 development agenda, published in May last year, was, I believe, a crucial step forward.”

Lord Blackheath:

“DfID is currently investing £50 million over five years towards the control of schistosomiasis and intestinal worms. For this amount, we will be heading to eliminate these infections in two of these countries and, for an estimated £50 million more, we could approach elimination in another four of these countries.”

Lord Patel:

“An urgent expansion of mass drug administration, not only to children but to women of childbearing age, for the eradication of hookworm and schistosomiasis is needed.”

Lord Alton:

“Scaling up integrated NTD control and elimination strategies is considered one of the most cost-effective ways to reduce global poverty. … the seven most common NTDs … cause blindness, huge swelling in appendages and limbs, severe malnutrition and anaemia—all brilliantly highlighted … in the END7 Youtube video featuring Eddie Redmayne and others.”

Lord Trees: 

“In spite of … remarkable commercial philanthropy, there is still a funding gap… Only 0.6% of overseas development assistance for health is devoted to NTDs. The British Government have set an excellent example, along with the US Government and NGOs, but I join the noble Baroness, Lady Hayman, in urging the Government to exert all the pressure that they can on other richer countries, particularly in the EU, to ensure that they contribute more to this endeavour.”

Lord Crisp: 

“The other group worth mentioning is the communities themselves in Africa. The African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control, which is one of our partners at Sightsavers, has 100,000 community distributors of drugs, one in each village, who, once a year, deliver the drugs to everyone in the village in an attempt to eliminate the disease. That is an excellent example of community self-help, but it also allows them to distribute drugs for other diseases.”

Lord Collins: 

“Long-term elimination goals cannot be reached without addressing primary risk factors for NTDs, such as…having access to clean water and basic sanitation, vector control and stronger health systems in endemic areas. These issues will need to be addressed beyond the WHO 2020 goals and as part of the post-2015 development framework.”

Lord Bates: 

“Underpinning the results lies a collaborative network. We continue to work closely with donor colleagues, particularly the US Agency for International Development, the World Bank, the World Health Organisation and, of course, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to improve the way in which we tackle these diseases. National Governments are key partners too, particularly in the delivery of mass drug administration through schools and communities. … because these are diseases of the rural poor we should have people down at a village level engaged in tackling them.”