Archive for February, 2010

Sabin Vice-President Dr. Ciro de Quadros Receives Chesley Perry Award from Rotary International

February 26th, 2010

 

End Polio Now

Exciting News!

The Rotary Club of Chicago has presented Sabin Vice-President Dr. Ciro de Quadros with the Chesley Perry Award for Distinguished Humanitarian Service for global polio eradication.

Dr. de Quadros led the team responsible for developing a surveillance and response strategy to eliminate polio from the Americas. Based on the success of the polio eradication strategy, the World Health Organization (WHO) committed to the global eradication of polio.

Worldwide, polio has been eliminated in all but four countries: Afghanistan, India, Nigeria, and Pakistan. The Americas were declared free from polio in 1994, the Western Pacific region in 2000, and Europe in 2002.

“Ciro’s contributions to worldwide polio eradication efforts are immeasurable and he continues to be a defining advocate for polio eradication in the few places where the disease remains,” said Sabin President Dr. Peter Hotez. “All of us at Sabin congratulate Ciro on receiving this distinguished award. With the strong support of champions like Ciro, the eradication of polio can be achieved in the near future.”

End Polio Now2

The award presentation on February 23rd coincided with Rotary International’s 105th anniversary and a global call to “End Polio Now.” Landmarks around the world including, Chicago’s Wrigley Building; the Egyptian Pyramid of Khafre; Buenos Aires’ Obelisk; and the Taipei 101 building displayed an “End Polio Now” banner calling attention to the devastating effects of polio, a crippling disease that can be fatal and disproportionately affects children under the age of five.

In addition to Dr. de Quadros, notable figures in attendance for the award presentation and lighting ceremony included: Illinois Governor Pat Quinn; Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley; the Reverend Jesse Jackson, President of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition; James Galloway, U.S. Assistant Surgeon General; and Ed Futa, General Secretary of Rotary International.

Obama Administration Appoints New USAID Leader for Global Health Initiative

February 25th, 2010

Yesterday the Obama Administration took another step towards implementing its Global Health Initiative by appointing Amie Batson to lead USAID’s efforts for the GHI.  She will also serve as deputy assistant administrator for USAID.

 Ms. Batson comes to USAID after an illustrious 20 year career in the health field. She has held various positions at WHO, UNICEF, and most recently the World Bank. She was one of the founding members of the Global Alliance for Vaccines & Immunization, a major global partnership advancing the cause of immunization worldwide. Her efforts and innovative thinking, especially in the fields of financing, have helped provide medical services to millions of people worldwide. She received the President’s Award for Excellence in Innovation from the World Bank in 2002.

 Read more about USAID’s announcement of Ms. Batsons appointment here.

Reading List 2/25/10

February 25th, 2010

Today were reading about reactions by Doctors Without Borders to the NTD aspects of the Obama Administrations Global Health Initiative, an article about the difficulties registering new drugs in Africa to fight NTDs, and about an ongoing effort to combat lymphatic filariasis in southern India.

Fighting Deadly Neglected Tropical Diseases: Opportunities to Expand U.S. Impact in Control of NTDs, Doctors Without Borders

White House Called on to Expand Global Health Initiative, Doctors Without Borders

Registering New Drugs: the African context, Paul Chinnock, TropIKA.net

Filariasis Medicines to be Distributed, The Hindu

New Paper Advises Universities on How to Aid NTD Efforts

February 24th, 2010

Recent trends have shown a dramatic increase in student interest in NTDs and global health in general. However, the role of universities in the field of NTDs has lagged behind student interest. While that’s happening, there is a widening innovation gap in NTD treatments and the field of NTDs remains largely underfunded. So in a field in need of innovation and research funding, what can universities do to create significant, positive change?

That very question is the topic of an editorial recently released in PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases  by Dr. Peter Hotez, President of the Sabin Vaccine Institute, Sandeep Kishore, abiomedical fellow at Weill Cornell, The Rockefeller University, and Sloan-Kettering Institute, and Gloria Tavera, a Fullbright Research Scholar at the Instituto Nacional de Salud Publica in Mexico.

In the paper they recommend three key steps that universities can take. The first step is for universities to develop new seed funds for NTD research. These seed funds could go to providing new student fellowships, operational support, or any number of other beneficial purposes. The second step is eliminating IP barriers around NTD research. Removing those barriers would make the development of life-saving drugs quicker and cheaper. The third step is to create new metrics that favor NTDs regarding faculty appointments. Current metrics are biased against NTDs, contributing to the gap between student interest in global health and NTDs and the opportunities universities provide.

By following these three steps, universities can become key movers in the NTD field, making invaluable contributions and saving countless individuals from the grasp of disease.

To read the complete paper, click here.

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Reading List 2/22/10

February 22nd, 2010

Not much to read today, but theres still some important stuff out there. Today were reading about an anti-lymphatic filariasis effort in Nepal and an update on the fight against Guinea worm.

Free drugs of Filariasis distributed in Kaski, The Rising Nepal

Carter: Eradication of Guinea Worm Disease Near in Sudan, Sheila Poole, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Good Read: Ending the Neglect of Neglected Tropical Diseases

February 19th, 2010

Here is some worthwhile weekend reading! Perfect for lounging out and sipping a cup of tea at a local coffee shop!

 The Population Research Bureau (PRB) put out a policy brief called Ending the Neglect of Neglected Tropical Diseases. The paper gives a good introduction and breakdown of NTDs, its global impact and the cost-effective and efficient solutions available now to help tackle them.

Check it out here

Neglected Tropical Diseases and the Quest for Social Justice

February 19th, 2010

Tomorrow, February 20th, 2010, marks the second annual World Day of Social Justice. This event was created in 2007 to “consolidate further the efforts of the international community in poverty eradication and in promoting full employment and decent work, gender equality and access to social well-being and justice for all.” There are many ways to work towards those goals, but one of the most effective, and cost effective, is the elimination of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).

 To eradicate poverty and promote full employment, NTD treatment is vital in the developing world. If a person is suffering from lymphatic filariasis and has severely swollen limbs to the point of being unable to work, or have contracted trachoma or onchocerciasis and gone blind, it hinders their ability to earn a living. Infections from the soil-transmitted helminth family of parasites cause anemia and nutrient deficiencies in children, stunting their physical and mental development. One of these parasites, roundworm, can decrease the future earnings potential of an infected child by 43%. However, deworming not only prevents the developmental disabilities created by infection, but also has been found to decrease school absenteeism by 25%. If future generations are to break free of the vicious cycle of poverty and unemployment, then NTD treatment must be included in any efforts.

Photo courtesy of Lindsay Wheeler

Photo courtesy of Lindsay Wheeler

 NTDs also play heavily into issues of gender equality, as they tend to disproportionately affect women. In areas of great gender inequality, the social stigmas attached to the disfigurement, morbidity, and disability caused by NTDs tend to be especially isolating and ostracizing for women. Women who have suffered from disfiguring NTDs such as lymphatic filariasis or onchoerciasis have lost their jobs, lost their families, and even been prevented from seeking medical attention. Further, NTDs pose special risks to women sexually and reproductively.  NTD infections cause women in particular to be especially at risk for sexually transmitted diseases. Genital sores on women caused by schistosomiasis have been shown to increase the risk of HIV infection threefold. Both schistosomiasis and roundworm have been linked to maternal anemia during pregnancy, leading to complications, as well as low birth weight and sterility. For gender equality to be reached, these diseases which disproportionately affect women must be dealt with.

 Those two points together make a strong case for NTD treatment, but there’s even more to be said in terms of social well-being and justice. Nations which are unstable or volatile, such as Pakistan, Niger, or Sudan, tend to have a high NTD disease burden. That is no coincidence. NTDs breed the poverty and inequality that give rise to political instability and violence. NTD treatment would not only heal the sick and help the poor, but it would help to stabilize nations and entire regions.

 So tomorrow, as you enjoy your Saturday, remember those less fortunate than you. Remember those for whom survival is a daily struggle, poverty an unavoidable fact of life, and political instability and violence an ever present threat. Then consider that treatment for the seven most common NTDs can be provided for only 50 cents a year per person. Consider all the good that can be done for such a small price.

 The UN created World Day of Social Justice with an eye towards a better future. For that to be accomplished, NTD treatment must be part of the plan.

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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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