News

New! CWW systematic review of global soil-transmitted helminthiasis prevalence and intensity studies

CWW is pleased to share a systematic literature review1 titled, “Qualitative systematic literature review of global soil-transmitted helminthiasis prevalence and intensity studies.” The literature review was undertaken to assess the availability and quality of STH data starting from 2006, when several STH endemic countries began implementing mass drug administration for STH control.

The literature review included 209 studies published between 2006 and 2018 that fit the inclusion criteria. Findings from the literature review indicated that the available STH epidemiological data are “fragmented, mostly of questionable quality, and minimally useful for regional or global program decisions.” The authors recommend a standardized approach to gathering STH program data, based on a comprehensive global monitoring and evaluation framework that will allow for pooling of information across countries and regions to guide global policy and progress.

1Diaz, Michael R., et al. (2020) Qualitative systematic literature review of global soil-transmitted helminthiasis prevalence and intensity studies.

 

 

 

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2020 STH Advisory Committee Meeting Outcomes & Recommendations

CWW is delighted to share a summary of the 2020 STH Advisory Committee Meeting Outcomes & Recommendations.

Publication date: The meeting report was disseminated in November 2020. This summary was published online on December 15th, 2020. Please contact Children Without Worms (cww@taskforce.org) with comments or questions.

Disclaimer: Inclusion of information in this report does not constitute ‘publication.’

Please click on the link below to access the summary.

 

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New paper co-authored by CWW team member on strengthening the NTD Supply Chain through partnerships

new paper1 published in PLOS NTDs describes the complex supply chain systems necessary for the delivery of preventive chemotherapy for neglected tropical diseases (NTD) interventions. The paper notes that the supply chains established to support NTD operations are complex and that the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has further highlighted the need for strong supply chains for health system strengthening.

Cassandra Holloway, Children Without Worms (CWW) Program Support Specialist, is an author on this publication and CWW is one of the 17 partner organizations that make up the NTD Supply Chain Forum.

CWW supports the NTD Supply Chain Forum, a public-private partnership whose vision is to support endemic countries in controlling and eliminating NTDs. As the host of the Forum, CWW helped develop and pilot the NTDeliver database mentioned extensively in this recent publication.

 

1Souza AA, Holloway C, Williams T (2020) The NTD Supply Chain Forum—Strengthening the backbone of NTD programs. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 14(11): e0008818. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0008818

 

 

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Children Without Worms (CWW) hosts the Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) Supply Chain Forum (SCF) meeting

CWW hosted the second of the bi-annual meetings of the NTD SCF in September 2020. Participants included representatives from national Ministries of Health, the WHO, implementing partner organizations, and pharmaceutical donors such as Merck Healthcare KGaA, Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp., J&J, GSK, Eisai,  and Pfizer. (Access meeting report here.)

Spread over the course of three days via a virtual platform, the meeting included updates from representatives of pharmaceutical donors and the various working groups set up to solve supply chain management challenges in delivering pharmaceutical products to endemic countries.

Attendees participate in the virtual meeting

 

The supply chain forum was particularly relevant this year, as CWW encouraged dialogue and creative solutions to COVID-19 challenges. Participants identified that with the reduction of flights, border closures and restrictions, the delivery of NTD medications has posed many challenges. Further, mass drug administrations (MDA) have decreased because of COVID-19 restrictions such as school closures. Participants noted that missed MDAs may also trigger the need for an additional MDA in 2021 to keep the programs on track.

To overcome such challenges, NTD SCF participants proposed concise measures for ensuring the delivery of medicines to affected communities. Several recommendations were made at the end of the three-day meeting, including next steps to guide the future of the NTD SCF.

The next virtual forum meeting is scheduled for February 23-24, 2021.

Cassandra Holloway, Children Without Worms (CWW) Program Support Specialist, presents at the NTD SCF

 

Access meeting report here.

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STH Control in Bangladesh: A Photo Essay

CWW has been working with the Ministry of Health, Bangladesh and other partners to strengthen national NTD program monitoring and data management through use of the Integrated Community-Based Survey for Program Monitoring (ICSPM). Click through the slideshow below to learn more about ICSPM in Bangladesh and our collaborative progress towards elimination of STH as a public health problem among children.

Graphics: Priya Palani

Text: Rachel Wallace

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India’s new helminth control paradigm

Together with Evidence Action and the COR-NTD secretariat, Children Without Worms facilitated a pre-meeting session called, “India’s new helminth control paradigm – Large-scale refinements: implementation, evaluation, and Roadmap development for India’s national soil-transmitted helminth control program.”

The annual meeting of the Coalition for Operational Research on Neglected Tropical Diseases (COR-NTD) is taking place virtually this year. Ahead of the COR-NTD meeting, individual sessions organized in October will inform a synthesized sessions at the COR-NTD meeting in November 2020.

Aim of the Session: 

This session details the strategic and operational development and implementation of India’s National Deworming Day (NDD), including how leading practice monitoring and evaluation activities are now enabling the Government of India to evaluate success and develop a Roadmap for the next five years of STH control.

Specific goals include:

1. Highlight an exemplar, country-led example of how a Ministry of Health program has been conducting a complex STH deworming program across the highest burden country globally
2. Analyze India’s learnings of national and international importance, towards a refined agenda for STH control and elimination of morbidity
3. Inform global best practice around appropriate STH survey methodologies and impact assessments

Presentation Titles:

  1.  Development of the Government of India’s 5-year STH Control Roadmap: designing a ‘new chapter’ in helminth control for one of the world’s largest populations
    Speaker: Dr. Sila Deb
  2. Mapping soil-transmitted helminths across the whole of India
    Speaker: Dr. C.S. Aggarwal
  3. Extensive reductions in STH in large-scale expanded and school-based impact assessments in seven states of India
    Speaker: Dr. Manoj Murhekar
  4. Evaluating the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of conducting community-based surveys of STH
    Speaker: Ms. Priya Jha

Moderator: Dr. Don Bundy

Click on the link below to watch the recording!

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WaSH: Where’s the evidence? COR-NTD session, October 14, 2020

Together with the London Centre for NTD Research and the COR-NTD secretariat, Children Without Worms facilitated a pre-meeting session called, “WaSH: Where’s the evidence? Understanding the role of WaSH in the control of NTDs and the current research gaps.”

The annual meeting of the Coalition for Operational Research on Neglected Tropical Diseases (COR-NTD) is taking place virtually this year. Ahead of the COR-NTD meeting, individual sessions organized in October will inform a synthesized sessions at the COR-NTD meeting in November 2020.

Aim of the Session: 

Water, sanitation, and hygiene are essential for preventing and sustaining the control of neglected tropical diseases. This session summarises examples from some WaSH and NTD actors with emerging successes and challenges.

Presentation Titles:

  1. “The role of water, sanitation and hygiene interventions in reducing soil-transmitted helminths: interpreting the evidence and identifying next steps” – Dr. Susana Vaz Nery
  2. “What is the impact of WASH on STH across contexts? Evidence from a Cochrane review” – Dr. Matthew Freeman
  3. “Transmission and effects of WaSH, using biometric technology to link individual WaSH coverage with STH and schistosomiasis infection in Ethiopia” – Dr. Anna Phillips
  4. “Developing the WASH for NTDs Research Agenda – what is the way forward?” – Dr. Sarity Dodson

Moderators: Ms. Yael Velleman, SCI Foundation, and Dr. Pauline Mwinzi, WHO AFRO

Watch the recording by clicking on the link below!

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Video highlights Bangladesh’s success in fighting intestinal worms

CWW is delighted to share a new video that showcases our collaborative efforts to control and prevent intestinal worm infections in Bangladesh. Working in close partnership with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Bangladesh, and other partners for over 10 years, CWW has been supporting disease surveillance activities to improve the quality and range of public health interventions in endemic communities. The short video makes it evident that public health interventions such as intestinal worm control are the result of the dedicated efforts of public health professionals at different levels of the public health and education systems, including community health workers, medical officers, pharmacists, logisticians, school teachers, and community members like Ms. Mosammat Aleya, who talks about her experiences with the community-based deworming program in Saidpur, Bangladesh.

Our partnership in Bangladesh has been made possible through sustained funding from Johnson & Johnson, whose deworming drug donations since 2006 have scaled-up the global STH control program.

Watch the video here.

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Partners launch new initiative to protect against health emergencies

The Trinity Challenge is a new global initiative launched by 22 founding partners, including GSK, a CWW donor, to promote new and innovative ways of harnessing data and analytics to fight pandemics and prevent future health emergencies. This coalition of global partners will “work together to better protect the world against health emergencies.”

As part of this challenge, interested individuals and organizations are invited to submit impact-driven ideas on protecting health and economic systems from the threat of global health emergencies.

Formal applications for the challenge will open in early October and more information can be found here.

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STH Coalition Webinar Recording: M&E innovations by Kenya NTD partners to strengthen program data

The August 2020 webinar featured presentations from Evidence Action, the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Children Without Worms on STH operations research in Kenya. Click on the link below to access the webinar recording on CWW’s Youtube channel!

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STH Coalition Webinar: STH Operations Research in Kenya

 STH Operations Research in Kenya

We look forward to seeing you at our next STH Coalition webinar on August 25th, 2020, 9.00-10.30 AM EDT on STH Operations Research in Kenya.

Zoom Meeting Link: https://zoom.us/j/95374115652?pwd=ZGl1Unl2WThiZW4rcEtqV1dhbVhlUT09

Dr. Sultani Matendechero,Head, Division of Vector Borne & Neglected Tropical Diseases, Ministry of Health, Kenya, and member of the STH Advisory Committee, will chair and facilitate the webinar.

 

The webinar will feature the following presentations:

Findings from phone-based STH coverage validation in Kenya, Andrew Kitchel, Manager, Analytics, Global Monitoring, Learning, and Evaluation, Evidence Action

Andrew Kitchel is the Analytics Manager for the Monitoring, Learning, and Evaluation team at Evidence Action, where he leads design, analysis, and reporting of monitoring and evaluation for the Deworm the World Initiative. Andrew has been with Evidence Action for two years and has spent time working with their early-stage programs, Deworm the World Initiative, and the Dispensers for Safe Water program on data collection, management, and analysis for research and monitoring.

Implementer & recipient perspectives of community-wide mass drug administration for soil-transmitted helminths in Kwale County, Kenya, Hugo Legge, Member, London Center for NTDs Research & Research Assistant, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

Hugo Legge is a Research Assistant at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) with an interest in environmental health and neglected tropical diseases. He holds an MSc in Public Health from LSHTM and is currently acting as the Clinical Trial Operations Coordinator for the DeWorm3 Project, a multi-country cluster randomized trial evaluating the feasibility of interrupting transmission of soil-transmitted helminths (STH). Most recently, he has published work exploring the acceptability of community-wide mass drug administration for STH among implementers and recipients in Kwale County, Kenya.

Technical capacity building for community-wide STH and SCH surveillance in Kenya, Sanjaya Dhakal, Epidemiologist, & Cara Tupps, Associate Director of Programs, Children Without Worms

As an Epidemiologist, Sanjaya Dhakal 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.

As Associate Director of Programs, Cara Tupps oversees CWW’s work in Kenya and is responsible for providing programmatic support to partners. 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.Please forward this announcement to interested colleagues!

Webinar Details:Date & Time: August 25th, 2020, 9:00-10:30 AM EDT (8 AM U.S. central time, 9 AM Atlanta time, 2 PM London/BST time, 4 PM, Nairobi/EAT time)

Zoom Meeting Link: https://zoom.us/j/95374115652?pwd=ZGl1Unl2WThiZW4rcEtqV1dhbVhlUT09

Meeting ID: 953 7411 5652

Passcode: sthccall

One tap mobile
+14702509358,,95374115652# US (Atlanta)
+14703812552,,95374115652# US (Atlanta)

Find your local number: https://zoom.us/u/akyYJ1ver
Join by SIP: 95374115652@zoomcrc.com

Add this event to your google calendar. 

If you have any questions, please contact Webinar host: Girija Sankar at gsankar at taskforce dot org.

 

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New study led by STH Advisory Committee members with contributions from CWW on STH Diagnostics

new paper1 published in PLOS NTDs demonstrates the feasibility and challenges of an international external quality assessment scheme (EQAS) to test and ensure the quality of molecular diagnostic testing for parasitic worms such as soil-transmitted intestinal worms.

Facilitated by Children Without Worms (CWW), the study piloted an international EQAS for the diagnosis of parasitic worms involving 15 laboratories in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America. Findings showed that while most laboratories performed well, some laboratories may need to improve their test protocol.

Commenting on the findings, Rubina Imtiaz, CWW Director, said, “this timely publication highlights the development of  molecular testing methodology (qPCR) for STH and additional parasites. It also draws attention to the need for standardizing testing approaches across laboratories around the world so that test results are comparable. Findings from this study serve as an important first step in that direction.”

As a regular contributor to STH policy  and a leader in innovation, CWW continues to advocate for investments in STH diagnostics and works with key stakeholders such as the World Health Organization and the STH Advisory Committee and others to promote a “use-case focused” collaboration on NTD diagnostics.

 

1Cools P, van Lieshout L, Koelewijn R, Addiss D, Ajjampur SSR, et al. (2020) First international external quality assessment scheme of nucleic acid amplification tests for the detection of Schistosoma and soil-transmitted helminths, including Strongyloides: A pilot study. PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases 14(6): e0008231. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0008231

 

 

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CWW in Kenya: A Photo Essay

CWW has been working with the Ministry of Health, Kenya and other partners to strengthen national NTD epidemiology and data management. Click through the slideshow below to see how our collaborative efforts have progressed since 2019.

Graphics: Priya Palani

Text: Girija Sankar

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All Hands on Deck: A synchronized approach to fighting COVID-19

In a new paper published in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases, Rubina Imtiaz, MBBS, CWW Director, and other global public health experts called for a unified response to the coronavirus pandemic. Calling it an ‘all-hands-on-deck’ approach, the experts proposed a list of tools and institutional mechanisms to advance the unified approach. The publication drew on experiences from previous epidemic outbreaks like the Ebola outbreaks and the successes of multilateral platforms like the NTD Supply Chain Forum, facilitated by CWW, to form a global, COVID-19 mitigation framework with tools for a collaborative pandemic response. Reflecting on the role of institutions, the authors offered the following example:

“[T]he Task Force for Global Health convened a virtual meeting across 46 global entities representing pharmaceutical commodity donors, implementing partners and shippers, under WHO leadership to assess and respond to anticipated interruptions in critical supply chain of deworming drugs. This rapid consultation across multilaterals and private sector entities helped rapidly access existing platforms such as the DHL Control Tower for Humanitarian Supply Chain to assist the movement of medical supplies and other essential drugs from China to the rest of the world.” (Ebrahim, Zhou, et al. 2020).

Dr. Imtiaz added that “examples like the NTD Supply Chain Forum, facilitated by CWW, show us the importance of a multilateral approach in mitigating global, public health crises by helping to rapidly adapt existing and new platforms and mechanisms for a response. During a global crisis like COVID-19, our response should not be the sole responsibility of one sector, but the responsibility of all sectors to work together.”

CWW has also been working with partners to assess delays to deworming, and other NTD campaigns. CWW is supporting national deworming programs to focus on those activities that can continue during the pandemic per WHO interim guidelines on community- and facility-based care.

Reference:

Ebrahim, S. H., Zhuo, J., Gozzer, E., Ahmed, Q. A., Imtiaz, R., Ahmed, Y., Doumbia, S., Rahman, N., Elachola, H., Wilder-Smith, A., & Memish, Z. A. (2020). All Hands on Deck: A Synchronized Whole-of-World Approach for COVID-19 Mitigation. International journal of infectious diseases : IJID : official publication of the International Society for Infectious Diseases, S1201-9712(20)30484-7. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijid.2020.06.049

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Announcing the Launch of CWW’s New Website

CWW is excited to announce the launch of our newly designed website!

As a leader in STH policy, innovation, and advocacy, CWW needs to make news and resources about global STH control and elimination efforts easily accessible to current and new partners and colleagues. We believe our new website does just that – the new site is more user-friendly, faster, and easier to navigate. It provides better access to information on the STH Advisory Committee and STH resources produced by CWW.

New features on our website include an image gallery via Flickr that provides quick access to photos related to CWW’s work around the world. Our social media channel on Twitter is now integrated onto our homepage so visitors can view our engagement on social media.

A featured resources section on the home page provides visitors easy access to our latest resources. These resources include tools to estimate disease prevalence, such as the Integrated Community-Based Survey for Program Monitoring, and the Global M&E Framework, a resource document for deworming programs to make data-driven decisions on deworming interventions.

The new website also features our STH Advisory Committee members. The STH Advisory Committee is an expert group of research and national program leaders with expertise in public health, diagnostics, epidemiology, child, and school health. The STH Advisory Committee comes together once a year at an annual meeting to assess global accomplishments and persistent needs and gaps towards the WHO STH goals. The committee provides relevant technical and scientific advice on STH control to donors, researchers, pharmaceutical companies, and non-governmental and governmental implementers.

We expect to add new content regularly to our new website, so we encourage STH and NTD partners to bookmark our pages.

Many thanks to Resonance Marketing for building the new site for CWW!

For any questions, suggestions, feedback, or comments, please email us at cww@taskforce.org.

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New CWW publication provides deworming program with evidence to adjust Mass Drug Administration

new paper1 published in the BMC Public Health shows that population-based disease mapping surveys such as the Integrated Community-Based Survey for Program Monitoring (ICSPM) can support monitoring for mature deworming programs that have delivered Soil-Transmitted Helminth (STH) interventions for five or more years. The paper resulted from Children Without Worms’ long-standing partnership with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW), Bangladesh, to provide robust data to its Lymphatic Filariasis and STH Program to assess progress towards eliminating STH infections as a public health problem. After eight years of twice-annual mass drug administration (MDA) to school-aged children, the National Program surveyed four districts between August and October 2017 using ICSPM to determine the prevalence and intensity of STH. The ICSPM expands on the WHO’s guidelines for transmission assessment surveys for Lymphatic Filariasis (LF)2. The surveys revealed that the MDAs impacted STH prevalence in three of the four districts (3.4-5%), while it remained high in Sirajganj district (23.4-29.1%). As a result of these findings, the National Program is reviewing the frequency of MDA to adjust it in impacted areas and improve the quality and range of interventions in the persistent high-prevalence districts.

According to this paper, the ICSPM provides deworming programs with a new way to map STH (at baseline or impact).

Dr. Rubina Imtiaz, Director of Children Without Worms, and a co-author on this study said, “The study demonstrates that community-level parasitological data is necessary to understand the true impact of deworming interventions,” and that, ” the ICSPM provides National Programs with the kind of evidence needed to streamline resources to communities with high burden and scale back interventions in areas that have shown to have low burden.”

Since 2016, CWW has engaged with National STH Programs in Kenya and Sierra Leone to use the ICSPM for assessing progress in deworming interventions, as part of its broader strategy to build sustainable epidemiologic capacity for NTD program monitoring.

References:

1Davlin, S.L., Jones, A.H., Tahmina, S. et al. Soil-transmitted helminthiasis in four districts in Bangladesh: household cluster surveys of prevalence and intervention status. BMC Public Health 20, 672 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-020-08755-w

2World Health Organization. Assessing the Epidemiology of Soil-transmitted Helminths during a Transmission Assessment Survey in the Global Programme for the Elimination of Lymphatic Filariasis. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2015.

Study images credit: Davlin, S..L., Jones, A.H., et al (2020)1Creative Commons license

Banner image credit: A.S.M. Maruf Kabir for Children Without Worms

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April 2020 STH Coalition E-Blast

Dear STH Coalition members,

We hope you, your families, and colleagues are staying well and safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.  In these recent weeks, Children Without Worms (CWW) has been in touch with many of you – assessing the impact of the pandemic to your programs and shaping our response to serve you better in these uncertain times.

At CWW, our decisions are guided by the recent interim guidance issued by the World Health Organization on implementing NTD programs. While some of the field activities we are currently supporting in countries like Bangladesh and Kenya have been suspended until further notice, we continue to work with Ministry of Health partners on STH data management, M&E capacity strengthening, and developing plans to ensure that STH programs can get back “on-track” as the situation improves around the world.

CWW continues to facilitate key conversations between NTD supply chain partners through the NTD Supply Chain Forum to address challenges related to the supply chain of NTD pharmaceuticals due to the pandemic.

We stand in solidarity with the millions of front line health workers, including doctors, nurses, medical technicians, and community health workers, who are waging a historic battle to keep us and our communities safe.

We remain committed to supporting STH and NTD partners around the world during these difficult times and are open to your questions, ideas, and feedback!

In solidarity,
Rubina Imtiaz
Director, Children Without Worms.

The World Health Organization recently published Interim Guidance on NTD Mass Treatment & Surveys.

News
Evidence Action is actively managing the unprecedented set of risks and challenges posed by COVID-19 to the communities and people they serve. A detailed statement of Evidence Action’s COVID-19 response is available here.

Many thanks to Vitamin Angels for sharing a consensus statement published by the Global Alliance for Vitamin A on vitamin A supplementation of preschool-age children during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The WASH in Schools Network, which includes STH Coalition partners Save the Children, WaterAid, UNICEF, and others, has produced resource materials for educational institutions to be used during the COVID-19 pandemic and in preparation for reopening schools.

The NTD Supply Chain Forum is working with NTD programs to proactively address supply chain challenges that could arise during the coronavirus pandemic. The Forum hosted a teleconference in February with over 50 participants to discuss how delays in delivery could alter countries’ abilities to meet key MDA timelines. Forum meetings and activities are facilitated by CWW.

Recent Partner Publications
new publication in PLOS NTDs by STH Advisory Committee member Alejandro Krolewiecki and colleagues reviewed the role of DNA-detection-based tools for monitoring STH treatment response in drug efficacy trials.

Mundo Sano and its research partners recently published an STH risk map for Argentina.

The London Centre for NTD Research recently published an update on The Geshiyaro Project: Why water, sanitation, and hygiene are critical to achieving health for all

The WHO and UNICEF recently issued new interim guidance on water, sanitation, hygiene, and waste management for the COVID-19 virus. The guidance is intended for WASH practitioners and providers and health care providers.
Announcements

The deadline for workshop submissions has been extended to Friday, May 15th, 2020. Please continue to use the existing form to submit the proposals by May 15th, 2020 instead of April 30th.

Recently CWW surveyed NTD National Program Managers on disruptions to NTD activities due to COVID-19 and contingency plans. Results from the survey will be shared with partners.

ICYMI

The World Health Organization recently published the 2030 targets for STH control programs as part of the new 2030 Roadmap for NTDs, available here.

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CWW telework update

Dear colleagues and partners,

Due to the spread of the COVID-19 viral infection, the CWW and Task Force for Global Health offices will be closed until April 30, 2020.  All staff will be telecommuting and this should in no way delay responses to your email or other communications.  We will review the conditions/state of emergency at the end of April and make a decision accordingly.  In the meanwhile, we hope your friends, families, and communities are staying well and safe in these uncertain times. We stand in solidarity with health workers around the world working tirelessly to protect our communities.

Stay well!

CWW team

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Continuing the War on Worms

“People, parasites, and poverty have a thriving relationship” said Vicente Y. Belizario, Jr., MD, MTM&H, and when it comes to intestinal worms, where Belizario has dedicated more than 30 years of his career, this is clearly evident. Intestinal worms are parasitic worms that cause soil-transmitted helminthiasis (STH), some of the most common infections in the world and the most commonly neglected tropical disease (NTD) that routinely affects poorer populations due to lack of quality sanitation and water infrastructures. Children Without Worms (CWW) works to control and eventually eliminate these infections, but it takes a collaborative effort of partnerships across the scientific and implementation sectors to get the job done, and Belizario has been an instrumental part of that collaborative effort. As a former STH Advisory Committee Chair and member, Belizario recently stepped down from the Committee to take on a new role as the Dean of the College of Public Health, University of the Philippines, Manila. In recognition of the contributions he has made to the STH community and as a partner to CWW, we catch up with him for some reflections on his time in the Committee and his thoughts on the current status and future of the War on Worms.

Read the interview

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STH Advisory Committee meets in Liverpool, September 2019

The 2019 annual meeting of the STH Advisory Committee (STHAC) was held September 15-16, in Liverpool, UK. Dr. Jürg Utzinger, Professor and Director of the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, chaired the proceedings. Meeting participants included STHAC members, STH leaders from the WHO, Johnson & Johnson, GSK, and invited speakers from the World Bank, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Lancaster University, DOLF, DeWorm3 project, and Evidence Action. Over two days, STHAC members reviewed STH updates on research, diagnostics, inclusion of strongyloidiasis in STH morbidity elimination, persisting data issues, and a formativediscussion on sustainability of NTD programs through thoughtful transition to national “ownership”.

Meeting  highlights included an initiation of a dialogue on sustainability in the NTD context, and what that means from the national program perspective. Discussions touched on the opportunities  to learn from previous efforts such as the African Program for Onchocerciasis Control (APOC). There was also a stated need to share tools and country engagement processes across major actors in this area for optimal coordination and to project STH (as the least “vertical” NTD) in all cross-NTD planning. Key outcomes of this year’s meeting will be detailed in a report to be shared in the coming months.

Additional highlights included a presentation on a new geospatial model for projecting sampling needs for STH and analysis of ESPEN data by Dr. Rachel Pullan (STHAC member) to show persistent mismatch between disease and intervention maps in Africa. This, and relateddiagnostic discussions led the STHAC to recommend that a follow-up meeting be organized to develop standard STH sampling methods that link to WHO indicator thresholds. These should incorporate existing diagnostics (Kato-Katz) but also be flexibly responsive to include future, more sensitive diagnostics as those become available (e.g. PCR methods). A second follow-up meeting shall be organized by the STHAC to further define the processes, evidence and metrics for including Strongyloidiasis in the WHO STH program.

These and other recommendations will soon be available in the meeting report posted on CWW’s website: www.childrenwithoutworms.org

The STHAC welcomed Dr. Bruno Levecke, and Ms. Lisa Rotondo, as new members on the committee. Their addition will bring much-needed diagnostic, epidemiologic and implementation expertise to the STHAC.

The STHAC also recognized Dr. Vicente Belizario’s service to the STH community as he steps down to carry on full time, his role as the Dean of the College of Public Health, at the University of the Philippines, Manila. Dr. Belizario served as an STHAC member for over 6 years and was briefly the chair of the STHAC. He brought his extensive and valuable STH control and public health experience as a leading public health and NTD leader from the Philippines and WPRO, to the STHAC.

About the STH Advisory Committee:

The STHAC is an independent group of research and national program leaders with expertise in in public health, diagnostics, epidemiology, child and school health, who assess the global accomplishments and persistent needs/gaps towards the WHO STH goals and provide relevant technical and scientific advice on STH control to donors, researchers, pharmaceutical companies, and non-governmental and governmental implementers. CWW is the secretariat of the STHAC.

STH Advisory Committee members (alphabetical order):

Dr. Theresa Gyorkos, Senior Scientist, Infectious Diseases and Immunity in Global Health Program, McGill University,

Dr. Ajay Khera, Commissioner Child Health, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, India

Dr. Alejandro Krolewiecki, Tropical Diseases Research Institute, National University of Salta, Argentina

Dr. Seung Lee, Senior Director, School Health and Nutrition, Save the Children US

Dr. Bruno Levecke, Department of Virology, Parasitology, and Immunology, University of Ghent

Dr. Sultani Matendechero, Head, Division of Vector Borne and Neglected Tropical Diseases, Ministry of Health, Kenya

Dr. Rachel Pullan, Associate Professor, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

Ms. Lisa Rotondo, Director, Act to End NTDs, East and ENVISION Projects, RTI International

Dr. Jürg Utzinger, Professor and Director, Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (STHAC Chair)

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