NNN 2020 Annual Conference

The 11th Annual Neglected Tropical Disease NGO (NNN) Conference will take place from Tuesday 8th – Thursday 10th September 2020. Originally scheduled to take place in Kathmandu, Nepal, the conference will now be on a virtual platform due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please see the Conference Agenda page for more information.

Our workshops and presentations listed in chronological order:

Girija Sankar, Associate Director of Partnerships and Communications, is presenting a rapid-fire session titled, “NTD Partner Mapping: harmonizing program interventions and impact measurement at the county-level in Kenya.” This session is scheduled for 6:00 – 7:30 AM EDT, Wednesday, 9th September 2020.

Cara Tupps, Associate Director of Programs, is co-facilitating a workshop session titled, “Road to resilience: building sustainable public health capacity within national NTD programs,” with Denver Mariga and Stephen Mwatha, Division of Vector Borne and NTDs, Ministry of Health, Kenya. This session is scheduled for 8:00 – 9: 30 AM EDT, Wednesday, 9th September 2020.

Cassandra Holloway, Project Support Specialist, is facilitating a workshop session titled, “The End to End Supply Chain – Working Together Towards a Successful Supply Chain Strategy to beat NTDs.”
Presenters in this workshop include Afework Tekle (World Health Organization, WHO), Modeste Tezembong (ESPEN/WHO AFRO), Tijana Williams (GSK), and Ashley Souza (NTD-SC, Task Force for Global Health). This session is scheduled for 6:00 – 7:30 AM EDT, Thursday, 10th September 2020.

Girija Sankar will provide an update on the activities of the Ensuring Sustainable Systems cross-cutting group of the NNN. This update is part of the closing plenary session of the NNN conference and is scheduled for 8:00 – 9:30 AM EDT, Thursday, 10th September 2020.

While registration for the conference is now closed, there’s still time to get on the waiting list here.

If you are already registered, please be sure to sign-in to the Conference’s Virtual Platform.

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CWW EVENT: NTD Supply Chain Forum Meeting

Purpose of the meeting:

Implementing NTD mass drug administration (MDA) programs in remote regions of the world is a complex process fraught with hurdles that require logistical planning and careful coordination of stakeholders. All players must work together, so medicines reach people safely, reliably, and cost-effectively.

The NTD Supply Chain Forum (Forum) focuses on leveraging collaboration in the fight against NTDs to better improve the collective NTD supply chain. To accomplish this goal, the Forum meets quarterly with its partners (group meetings and teleconferences). Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Forum’s in-person meeting has moved to a three-day webinar.

For more details, please contact Cassandra Holloway at

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Global Monitoring and Evaluation Framework

The Global M&E Framework, developed in collaboration with the STH Coalition and supporting partners, provides an overview of existing M&E tools and guidelines from WHO and other implementing partners. It provides innovative guidance to countries by acknowledging their differing stages of program implementation, defines a standardized approach to measuring key indicators by program tier, and introduces a tiered set of categories for benchmarking and assessing country progress and capacity towards achieving STH control goals. Please note that this is a living document and will be updated as and when new data and guidelines emerge.

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ICSPM Reference Manual

This manual describes how to conduct an Integrated Community-based Survey for Program Monitoring (ICSPM). The ICSPM is a probability household survey that measures prevalence of any STH infection and of medium and high intensity infections simultaneously in each risk group. It enables STH Programs to assess program impact and progress toward the elimination goal, and determine what the frequency of STH preventive chemotherapy should be, which depends on the prevalence range of any-STH infection. The manual is for national STH control program managers and survey coordinators at the implementation unit, sub-national, and national levels.

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CWW Factsheet

The CWW fact sheet provides an overview of CWW’s vision, mission, and strategies.

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Dr. Theresa Gyorkos

Dr. Theresa Gyorkos is a Canadian-based researcher in global health and infectious (parasite) disease epidemiology. She has over 25 years of experience conducting population-based primary epidemiological field research in Canada and abroad. Her research interests center around deworming control programs for high-risk populations such as those living in extreme poverty in parasitic disease-endemic areas of low- and middle-income countries, malnourished children, and pregnant women.

Dr. Gyorkos is currently a professor at McGill University’s Infectious Diseases and Immunity in Global Health Program.

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Ascaris lumbricoides, or “roundworm”

Roundworm is most prevalent in regions with hot, humid climates and inadequate sanitation. The parasite primarily affects children ages 1-14. The worms live in the intestines, and the eggs are passed through the feces of an infected person and contaminate the soil. They are transmitted by ingestion of the eggs on unwashed fruits and vegetables, utensils, or dirty hands that have been exposed to feces-contaminated soil. The health effects range from mild abdominal discomfort to severe infections that can lead to bowel obstruction, rupture, and death. Malnutrition can develop among those infected with intestinal worms. Children with these infections may also have mental and physical growth impairments. Roundworm infections are preventable and treatable with prescribed medication.

CDC – Ascariasis. US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. 2020.

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Dr. Ajay Khera

Dr. Ajay Khera is Commissioner at the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Government of India. He is responsible for planning, implementing, and monitoring child health immunization-related interventions at the national level. Prior to his current position, he served as the Assistant Director General at the National AIDS Control Organization, where he monitored and evaluated integrated disease surveillance programs. He also served as the Joint Director of Epidemiology at the National Center of Disease Control.

Dr. Khera has a Doctor of Medicine degree, specializing in preventive and social medicine from Lady Hardinge Medicine College and holds a Diploma in Gynecology and Obstetrics and Bachelor’s in Medicine and Surgery from Maulana Azad Medical College.

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Ancylostoma duodenale (“Old World” hookworm) and Necator americanus (“New World” hookworm)

Hookworm infection is most often acquired by walking barefoot on feces-contaminated soil. Some hookworm infections can occur in the lining of the mouth.The parasite primarily infects and affects adults (>15 years old). Although women of reproductive age are infected at similar rates as men, they are particularly affected by hookworm. Mild infections usually produce no symptoms but are still associated with lower hemoglobin concentration. [1] Severe infections result in blood loss, anemia, and protein loss. [2] Malnutrition can develop among those infected with intestinal worms. Children with these infections may also have mental and physical growth impairments. In addition to causing the majority of STH-associated deaths, hookworm caused an estimated 3.2 million disability-adjusted life years (DALY) in 2010. This represents the estimated number of years lost to ill health, disability, or early death caused by hookworm infections. Hookworm is responsible by for the most DALYs, by far, caused by a STH species. [2] Hookworm infections are preventable and treatable with prescribed medication.

CDC – Hookworm. Cdcgov. 2020.

[1] – Pullan R, Smith J, Jasrasaria R, Brooker S. Global numbers of infection and disease burden of soil transmitted helminth infections in 2010. Parasites & Vectors. 2014;7(1):37. doi:10.1186/1756-3305-7-37.[2] – Gyorkos, T. W., Gilbert, N. L., Larocque, R. and Casapía, M. (2011), Trichuris and hookworm infections associated with anaemia during pregnancy. Tropical Medicine & International Health, 16: 531–537. doi:10.1111/j.1365-3156.2011.02727.x

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Mariana Stephens, MPH

As Deputy Director, Mariana provides strategic leadership and technical direction for the CWW program. Mariana is responsible for overall management, implementation, personnel budget, and financial oversight of the program. Before joining the CWW team, Mariana worked with the NTD Support Center (NTD-SC) providing strategic planning and directed the development and implementation of complex, multi-institutional operational research programs. Her focus was on targeting the special challenges of national NTD programs supported by USAID and providing a rapid research response to these programs. Mariana is also an active member of the Center for Global Safe Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (CGSW) at Emory University. The mission of the CGSW is to enable organizations and communities to provide safe, effective, and sustainable drinking water and effective and sustainable sanitation and hygiene improvements.

Prior to joining the NTD-SC, Mariana has worked with CARE, World Vision International, and Habitat for Humanity International in various technical areas focused on WASH, maternal and child health, food security and nutrition, embracing program design, and monitoring and evaluation. She began her career in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mali serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the late 1980s. Mariana holds a master’s degree in public health and a bachelor’s degree in environmental design.


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Dr. Alejandro Krolewiecki

Dr. Alejandro Krolewiecki is the National Director for Diseases and Risk Prevention in Argentina’s Ministry of Health. He also works as a researcher at the Tropical Diseases Research Institute at the National University of Salta, Argentina. Previously, Dr. Krolewiecki served as the Director of Clinical Research at Guest Foundation, a Buenos Aires-based public health organization that has been working to secure rights to health since 1989.

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Trichuris trichiura, or “whipworm”

Whipworms are most prevalent in regions with hot, humid climates and inadequate sanitation. The parasite primarily affects children ages 1-14. The worms live in the intestines, and the eggs are passed through the feces of an infected person and contaminate the soil. They are transmitted by ingestion of the eggs on unwashed fruits and vegetables, utensils, or dirty hands that have been exposed to feces-contaminated soil. People with mild infections usually have no symptoms. Heavier infections can produce frequent, painful passage of stool that contains mucus, water, and blood; rectal prolapse can occur. Severe infections can lead to bowel obstruction, rupture, or even death. Malnutrition can develop among those infected with intestinal worms. Children with these infections may also have mental and physical growth impairments. Whipworm infections are preventable and treatable with prescribed medication.

CDC – Trichuriasis. US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. 2020.

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Ms. Seung Lee

Ms. Seung Lee is the Senior Director of School Health and Nutrition (SHN) at Save the Children. She has over 25 years of experience in international development specializing in health and education, including WASH in schools. She has a strong background in partnership building among governments and international agencies and working cross-sectorally in health and education. Ms. Lee joined Save the Children (SC) in January 2004 as the SHN Advisor for Africa, based in Ethiopia. She returned to Washington, DC in March 2006 and is now the Sr. Director for SHN. Through her work with Save the Children, Ms. Lee has provided strategic direction and technical assistance to SC’s SHN programs and leads a team of SHN specialists and project managers to ensure quality programming globally. She supports the FRESH (Focusing on Resources on Effective School Health) partnership and was a steering committee member of the UNAIDS Inter-Agency Task Team on Education (IATT). Previously, she worked for the World Bank supporting national-level SHN efforts in Africa and assisted in the World Bank’s support for HIV/AIDS and education programming. Seung has a BA from Dartmouth College and an MA from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

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Dr. Bruno Levecke

Dr. Bruno Levecke is the coordinator of Starworms, a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation-funded project that aims to develop and validate tools to strengthen monitoring and surveillance of drug efficacy and anthelmintic resistance in soil-transmitted control programs based on preventive chemotherapy. Dr. Levecke is also a trained veterinarian and holds both a PhD degree in Veterinary Sciences and an MSc degree in Statistical Data Analysis of Ghent University.

Dr. Levecke has been working extensively in the STH arena in areas such as diagnosis and drug efficacy. He is currently the head of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Monitoring Drug Efficacy against soil-transmitted helminths.

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Sanjaya Dhakal, PhD

As an Epidemiologist, Sanjaya leads in the development of survey tools, provides country-specific scientific leadership in survey implementation, data management, curation, and analysis. Sanjaya brings experience in both the government and private sectors. His prior experience includes working at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for eight years in different capacities, including a tour as an EIS Officer at the Food and Drug Administration. He was part of the CDC’s response to the H1N1 outbreak in the U.S. and the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone. He also worked as a consultant at BlueCross BlueShield Association and the World Health Organization. His research domains include outbreak investigations, epidemiologic methods, and public health program development and evaluation.

He holds a doctorate in epidemiology from the University of Pittsburgh, an MPhil from the University of Bergen, Norway, and an MSc from Tribhuvan University, Kirtipur, Nepal.

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Dr. Hadley Matendechero Sultani

Dr. Hadley Matendechero Sultani is a consultant psychiatric pharmacist with a master’s degree in clinical pharmacy from the University of Nairobi. He currently serves as the Head, Division of Vector Borne and Neglected Tropical Diseases in the Kenya Ministry of Health. With encouragement from colleagues and stakeholders, he took up the role of national NTD program pharmacist in January 2014 and rapidly rose through the ranks to the position of national NTD program manager in late 2015. This appointment completed his shift of focus from mental health to NTD control. His goal is to achieve elimination of at least five NTDs in Kenya by 2025. Dr. Sultani currently serves as a member of the National Executive Committee of the Pharmaceutical Society of Kenya. He is a member of the Soil-Transmitted Helminthiasis (STH) Coalition, STH Advisory Committee, and the External Advisory Committee of the Scientific Research Partnership for Neglected Tropical Snakebite (SRPNTS). He is the current chairman of the Leishmaniasis East Africa Platform (LEAP) Advisory Committee, where his main objective is to establish a common regional strategy towards elimination of Kala Azar.

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Cara Tupps, MScPH

Cara supports the overall technical and operational functions of CWW. Cara oversees CWW’s work in Kenya and is responsible for providing programmatic support to the partners there. She also contributes to the analysis and mapping of program data across multiple counties. Before joining the team, Cara worked in humanitarian relief and development in 10 different countries. Her experience includes capacity building, proposal development, grant management, donor relations, monitoring and evaluation, emergency and outbreak response, and managing country portfolios. She also served as a United States Peace Corps volunteer in Mozambique, where she helped to develop community-based health education programs. She holds a bachelor’s degree in microbiology from Auburn University and an MSc in Public Health for Development from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

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Dr. Rachel Pullan

Dr. Rachel Pullan is an Assistant Professor in Infectious Disease Epidemiology in the Department of Disease Control at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM).. She leads the London Applied & Spatial Epidemiology Research (LASER) group which specializes in GIS, spatial analysis, and field-based research, including large-cluster randomized trials of public health interventions. She also serves as Associate Director of the London Centre for NTD Research, and Associate Editor with PLOS NTDs.

Dr. Pullan received a BSc from Imperial College and an MSc and PhD from LSHTM.

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