Activities of the DNTDs

Presentation of the study: "Vector-associated infectious diseases in a changing climate - opportunities and limitations of modelling approaches for risk assessment"

Berlin, 10.05.2023 Tropical diseases transmitted by insects may become a risk for people in Germany and Europe in the future, even with moderate temperature increases due to climate change. This is the conclusion of a study by the Medical Biodiversity and Parasitology Research Group at Goethe University/ Frankfurt am Main, commissioned by the German Network against Neglected Tropical Diseases. Prof. Dr. Sven Klimpel and Dr. Sarah Cunze presented their modelling at a Parliamentary Evening. After a welcome by Prof. Dr. Achim Hörauf, Speaker of the DNTDs, Director of the Institute for Medical Microbiology, Immunology and Parasitology at the University Hospital Bonn, Dr. Georg Kippels MP and Speaker of the Parliamentary Advisory Board of the DNTDs opened the event by emphasising that the NTDs have now been accompanied by the Parliamentary Advisory Board for almost 10 years and mentioned in this context especially the declarations of the G7 states on NTDs. In the following discussion, Prof. Dr. Jonas Chanasit, Lead Arbovirology and Entomology, Bernhard Nocht Institute Hamburg, pointed out how important it will be in the future to cooperate in European networks and to communicate well with good quality data and thus to focus on prevention. The researchers recommend monitoring in the future that includes vector occurrence, prevalence of pathogens, occurrence of human and veterinary cases of disease and is carried out according to standardised methods throughout Europe. Efforts should be made to establish a European reporting system that could improve the data situation. In the case of species that have not yet become indigenous, vector control at early stages of immigration could be considered. Educating the population is also an important goal. The experts of the German Network consider training programmes for diagnostics, prophylaxis (including vaccinations) and therapy of infectious diseases as well as the development of new diagnostics and therapeutics to be particularly important.

+ + + Call for an action plan

Berlin, 25 January 2023 - On the occasion of the World Day against Neglected Tropical Diseases 2023, Niels Annen MdB, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and Prof. Dr. Helge Braun MdB, Chairman of the Budget Committee, Federal Minister (ret.) discussed ways in which the Federal Government can combat neglected tropical diseases. The discussion was moderated by Prof. Dr. Ilona Kickbusch, founder of the Global Health Centre at the Graduate Institute in Geneva. There are now numerous political declarations of intent to promote the fight against NTDs - Conclusion Communiqué of the G7 countries on the occasion of the Elmau Summit 2022, the Kigali Declaration on NTDs 2022 (signed by Germany as the first Western donor country), Global Health Strategy of the Federal Government 2020, Coalition Agreement 2021.

+++ German Network at the World Health Summit

Berlin, 17 October 2022 - "The global community must act now to sustain the progress made over the last decade in tackling individual neglected diseases". Dr Bernadette Abela-Ridder of the World Health Organization (WHO) opened her statement with this appeal. At the World Health Summit in Berlin, numerous experts met to discuss the importance of the NTD-WHO Roadmap and the Kigali Declaration on NTDs on the international agenda. Bernadette Abela-Ridder further emphasised that the commitments made by numerous states, institutions and philanthropists in the Kigali Declaration will make it easier to put the fight against NTDs into practice. Dirk Meyer, Head of Department at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, called for a holistic approach to combating neglected tropical diseases with more coordination and cooperation. There is "no more time for competition", he appealed, stressing that in his opinion three pillars are important for NTD control: 1. resilient health systems, especially taking into account primary health care, 2. the One Health approach and 3. social security systems.

Dr. Aimable Mbituyumuremyi, from the Rwanda Biomedical Center, Division Malaria, Neglected Tropical Diseases, used Schistosomiasis as an example to describe the efforts being made to reduce the high numbers of infections across sectors. He stressed the importance of cooperation between different ministries in NTD control. Decentralisation is also key, he said, as it is at the community level that needs are truly identified. In addition, he stressed that the assumption of political responsibility by the endemic countries is central to finally eliminating these old infectious diseases so that the poor population can be better off.

Dr. Johannes Waltz, Merck Group, Head of Merck Schistosomiasis Elimination Program, pointed out that his company's large drug donations are only one piece of the puzzle in providing health care to the sick people. The programmes are much broader, he said. Effective and sustainable control requires an integrated approach. His company is working with Rwanda to eradicate the infectious disease of schistosomiasis in that country.

Moses Okwii of the Christoffel Blind Mission in South Sudan described his work with the rural population, the often-missing infrastructure for clean water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). Also, in the region where he works, conflicts with the so-called pastoralists - who move around with their herds in search of good pastures for cattle - occur again and again. He says his challenges are many and he is working on cross-sectoral approaches, but they are far from being achieved.

Dr Luis Pizarro, who recently took up his post as Executive Director at Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi), pointed to new research approaches for chagas disease, leishmaniasis and mycetoma. But he also underlined the central role played by health workers in bringing drugs to patients. The programmes from the development of the drug to the treatment of the patients are always part of the solution, he said.

Prof. Dr Achim Hörauf from the University Hospital Bonn and Dr. Dr Carsten Köhler from the Institute for Tropical Medicine in Tübingen moderated the event.

You can watch the event online.

Reports from Ethiopia, Ghana, Sudan

Stockholm/Berlin - 24 August 2022. At the Stockholm World Water Week, the German Network together with the German WASH Network and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH reported from practical work:

Pauline Mwinzi, Technical, Expanded Special Project for Elimination of NTDs (ESPEN), World Health Organization, Regional Office for Africa WHO underlined the uniqueness of the data collection on WASH in the ESPEN-NTD portal. The data presented there on water, sanitation and hygiene, fill an important data gap.

Veterinarian Eiman Ahmed, Programme Manager of Veterinarians Without Borders Germany in Sudan spoke about the WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) approach in a multi-sectoral project on food security and livelihoods, WASH, income generation activities and protection of women and children.

Ahmed Bekere, Team Lead, German Leprosy and Relief Association (GLRA) Ethiopia described that the multi-sectoral work of One Health, WASH and NTD response needed to be much better aligned. He said his work shows that cross-sectoral and multidisciplinary One Health coordination is needed to achieve interruption of ongoing transmission, diagnosis and treatment of current human and animal cases.

Baridueh Badon, Project manager Access to water, Global Health Institute Merck, described a programme in Ghana that seeks to strengthen health systems and reduce infections, including waterborne diseases such as schistosomiasis, in different districts. Research, access to water and training of health workers are important components.

Wolfram Morgenroth Klein, Head of the Department of Pandemic Prevention, One Health, Animal Health, Biodiversity, Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), underlined that combating NTDs and promoting WASH are clearly defined objectives of the Ministry's One Health Strategy. The event ended with Daniel Eibach's (BMZ) appeal to coordinate WASH and NTD activities even more closely.

Nadja Münstermann, Advisor, Sector Project One Health, GIZ, referred to the One Health Platform PANORAMA.

+ + + Historic opportunity at Kigali Summit

Kigali/Berlin 23.06.2022 -The Kigali Summit on Malaria and NTDs celebrated the Kigali Declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases. Germany supported the fight against neglected tropical diseases by signing the declaration in 2022. In a video message, Niels Annen, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) underlined numerous commitments of Germany in the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) and West African Economic Community regions, the commitment with a special focus on One Health and building laboratory capacity and diagnostics for the fight against neglected tropical diseases. The Kigali Declaration builds on the progress made over the last two decades since the London Declaration.