News

Funding for Ebola hides decline in funding

Public funding for neglected disease research and development was actually at its lowest level in seven years, with public funding for non-Ebola R&D dropping by $62m in 2014. As the world’s biggest funder of neglected disease R&D, much of this decline has been driven by the US Government. US Government funding for non-Ebola neglected disease R&D fell again in 2014 – further extending the large sequester-related cuts of the previous year – to be nearly a quarter of a billion dollars ($221m) below its 2009... read more

Ugu District at the forefront

Child stunting, anaemia, impaired learning ability and the negative impact on health and socio-economic status may be prevented by correct treatment and Sister Siphumile Mlambo, CDC Ugu, informed us that South Africa is one of the five countries – worldwide – that has yet to map the presence of the worm diseases. In order to curb the devastating health consequences of worms some areas might need mass-treatment. Ugu District has been the first to pilot mass-treatment in some schools the last decade. However many areas in South Africa are unexplored and therefore urine and faeces must be collected in each of South Africa’s 52 districts. This will make it possible to decide on the best treatment strategies for the different areas. Ugu District Department of Health: Deputy District Manager, Sister Thoko Ntuli emphasised the importance of a multi-disciplinary approach to managing urogenital Bilharzia and the soil-transmitted helminths (intestinal worms). Dr Lester Chitsulo (Geneva/Malawi) who has worked on Female Genital Schistosomiasis and so-called Neglected Tropical Diseases for the World Health Organisation presented the plight of children with schistosomiasis and discussed the necessity for early management of disease. Dr Femi Olowookorun, Ugu District Medical Officer, spoke about the possible intervention points in the wake of the upcoming infant syrup for treatment of the disease. The BRIGHT team (University of KwaZulu-Natal) presented the latest news in research and also gave a practical approach to teenagers in need of health services. A lively discussion ensued, especially as Dr. Patricia Ndhlovu, Imperial College, UK,  spoke about the hot spots of infested rivers near some of our local schools. Sister Siphumile Mlambo Dr Femi Olowookorun BRIGHT team, Sister Nombeko Mpofana (below)... read more

How many people have worms in South Africa?

South Africa is the only country that has not yet found out how much soil transmitted helminths and schistosomiasis there is. However this is about to change. The Centre for Disease Control, Mrs Takalani Nemungadi, will lead the work to map South Africa and the WHO is committed to contribute to the exercise which will take place before March 2016. Urine and faeces will be collected in Grade 5 pupils in South Africa’s 52 districts to look for water-transmitted worms: Bilharzia (Schistosoma haematobium, Schistosoma mansoni), and soil-transmitted worms: Hookworm, Ascaris lumbricoides, and Trichuris trichiura. Each district will be divided into 2-4 ecological zones and in each of these zones 3-5 schools will be randomly selected for testing. Mrs Takalani Nemungadi, Department of Health deep in concentration with Professor Trevor Mulaudzi, University of Limpopo, at a preparatory meeting in Pretoria today. The Department of Education has already committed to treating the soil transmitted worms in the entire country, you can read more here. Do prepare your school for mapping and for... read more
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