Archive for August, 2010

Medicines for NTD Workshop Registration Now Open!

August 31st, 2010

Medicines for Neglected Diseases Workshop September 10-11, 2010 Boston University

MeND2010 is a workshop convened in the spirit of both optimism and urgency: to showcase the array of resources (funding, organizational and scientific) available for Neglected Diseases research and to develop new resources for the ND research community to ratchet up the pace and scope of discovery. All sectors will participate: academic scientists; clinicians and other front-line health workers; funders and funding experts; scientists and managers of biopharmaceutical companies, large and small; not-for-profit product development partnerships; students and other trainees who will become the next generation of leading researchers, developers and advocates.

The workshop will focus on defined problems and develop key resources for the biomedical research community committed to developing health technologies that can help to break the cycle of poverty for the billions living, for now, at the margins of global society.

Please visit the MeND2010 website to register, or click here to be directed to the registration page. A webcast is available for those who can not make it out to Boston; more information can be found on the registration page. Registration closes Wednesday, September 8, 2010.

Reading List 8/31/2010

August 31st, 2010

A new list of reads for your reading pleasure! Today were reading about a successful experimental treatment for victims of trachoma, the current state of global immunization, the spread of trachoma within the Northern Bahr el Ghazal region of Sudan, and Lymphatic filariasis in India.

Experimental vision cure proves successful, Thomas H. Maugh, Los Angeles Times Global immunizations hit record but miss millions, David Morgan, Reuters Mystery eye disease spreads across Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Ngor Arol Garang, Sudan Tribune Lymphatic filariasis in India: Epidemiology and control measures, S Sabesan, P Vanamail, KHK Raju, P Jambulingam, Journal of Postgraduate Medicine

The Global Maternal Health Conference 2010

August 30th, 2010

Today marks the first of day of The Global Maternal Health Conference 2010! Taking place in New Delhi, India August, 30 September 1, the conference will be a gathering of over 600 maternal health experts and their allies in a global technical and programmatic meeting. The Maternal Health Task Force (MHTF) and the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) have partnered for this conference,  aimed to build on the existing momentum around MDG5. The conference will focus on lessons learned, neglected issues, and innovative approaches to reducing maternal mortality and morbidity. The anticipated outcome is increased consensus around the evidence, programs and advocacy needed to reduce preventable maternal mortality and morbidity.

Topics covered at the conference include Ideas and Interventions to Improve Maternal Health, Underlying Factors in Maternal Mortality and Morbidity, Policy, Advocacy and Communications, and much more.

Check out the conferences livestreaming schedule, and spread the word about the Conference by using their hashtag #GMHC2010 on Twitter.

Weekly Blog Roundup August 23-27

August 27th, 2010

Happy Friday Readers! Check out what we talked about on End the Neglect this week!

  1. The Global Network got an awesome opportunity to showcase a 15 second spot on the CBS Superscreen in New York City! Check out the video and join Alyssa Milano and Text LIFE to 30644 to End The Neglect!
  2. Our wonderful communications/grassroots intern Linda shared her experience in  Honduras as a student volunteer working on construction projects for impovrished communities.
  3. We got a little clinical when discussing Lymphatic Filariasis in our second Worm of the Week installment.
  4. We got excited about the 30th anniversary of smallpox eradication!
  5. Alanna Shaikh talked sandflies and giant sores, with a great article on  leishmaniasis, a horrific neglected tropical disease threatening 350 million men, women and children in 88 countries!
  6. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation also had some great articles about smallpox this week, so we were excited to reprint them here for your reading pleasure!

Smallpox Eradication Taught Us How to Fight Polio: Now We Need to Win the Battle

August 27th, 2010

Reprinted with permission from Foundation Blog, The official blog of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

By: Dr. Tadataka Tachi Yamada

When I was growing up in Japan, my close friend Keichi Maruyama, who lived right next door to me, was crippled from polio.

Most people today are too young to remember, but it was a disease that struck fear into every family. We knew it could hit home at any time.

Dr. Tadataka Tachi Yamada watches as a boy receives a polio vaccination at Bhairon Mandir Temple. Tachi was there to understand the importance of transit and migratory populations in contributing to polio transmission. New Delhi, India. April 5, 2009. Photo courtesy of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation / Prashant Panjiar.

Polio is no longer a threat in most of the world, thanks to a polio vaccine and an enormous global commitment. We are now locked in a mortal battle to completely eradicate the disease and have reduced the fight to just four countries – Nigeria, India, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

This week I attended a symposium to commemorate the 30th anniversary of smallpox eradication. Thanks to the development and delivery of a vaccine, we achieved one of the greatest global health victories of all time. Vaccines are the most important and cost-effective intervention available to prevent illnesses and death.

I believe the fundamental lessons from smallpox can be applied to many diseases, especially the fight against polio. We need political will, sufficient human and financial resources, and ongoing scientific innovation

Of course there will be challenges along the way. I think the biggest lesson from the smallpox success is that we must approach each new challenge with the spirit of continuous learning and be flexible enough to adjust along the way. We must do the same until the world is polio-free, so that our children’s children will never have to say: “You came this close and gave up.”

Dr. Tachi Yamada, president of the foundation’s Global Health Program, leads the foundation’s efforts to help develop and deliver low-cost, life-saving health tools for the developing world. He oversees Global Health’s grantmaking, which focuses on four major activities: discovery, development, delivery, and advocacy.

Let’s Talk Leishmaniasis

August 26th, 2010

By: Alanna Shaikh

It was recently pointed out to me that I’ve never covered leishmaniasis in my posts. I’d hate to make an NTD extra-neglected, so I’ll look at it today. As a quick refresher, you may recall that I named it “giant sores and organ damage disease” in my very first post on this blog. It’s also known as kala-azar.

For a somewhat more formal description of leishmaniasis, we can turn to the World Health Organization (WHO). They’re just issued an information page on the disease. (Which, by the way, is good news. It will help raise the profile of this NTD and all the others as well.) The WHO would like you to know that:

Leishmaniasis is caused by protozoan parasites belonging to the genus Leishmania. The parasites are transmitted by the bite of a tiny – only 2–3 mm long – insect vector, the phlebotomine sandfly.

Photo Credit: CDC

Read more: Let’s Talk Leishmaniasis

Lessons Learned from Smallpox When Eradication is the Goal, One Case is One Too Many

August 26th, 2010

Reprinted with permission from Foundation Blog, The Official Blog of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

By: Walt Orenstein

I will never forget March 16, 1975.  It had been almost four months since I began working in India’s largest state, Uttar Pradesh (UP), to try to eradicate smallpox. 

On that morning, I was contacted about a new case of smallpox.  I reached the patient about 1 ½ hours after she died from an unusual complication, late hemorrhagic smallpox.  Her name was Shanti, a 7 month old child, the daughter of Pyari Lal. She was probably infected by her sibling.  Her death was totally preventable, but fortunately she turned out to be the last case of smallpox in UP.

We finally broke the human chains of transmission of that terrible virus.  That experience in India taught me how serious vaccine preventable diseases could be and how powerful vaccines are in preventing these types of tragedies.

Walter A. Orenstein, M.D doing community outreach in Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, India during the successful 1975 smallpox eradication campaign. Photo Credit: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

The eradication of smallpox showed that effective vaccines can lead to the ultimate goal: the permanent end of a serious affliction of humankind. Smallpox eradication is our generation’s gift to all future generations. Read more: Lessons Learned from Smallpox When Eradication is the Goal, One Case is One Too Many

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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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