Activities of the DNTDs

Berlin, November 20, 2020 - Under the patronage of Ottmar von Holtz, Member of the Bundestag, the DNTDs has presented a study that for the first time provides an overview of various measures by German actors from civil society, research, the private sector and the federal government, and their funding in the fight against neglected tropical diseases.

Christian Franz, author of the study by cpc analytics, uses data that he has gained from the membership of the DNTDs to describe a broad spectrum of activities that are in part funded by the German government. It becomes clear that the civil society and private sector actors finance a large part of the fight against NTD from their own resources - in accordance with their mission “leave no one behind”. It is worrying that many projects that are funded by the German government are about to expire. In order to ensure a sustainable fight against the NTDs, the projects would have to be extended or new ones started.

Representatives from the Federal Ministry for Health, Education and Research as well as Economic Cooperation and Development and the Federal Chancellery discussed future developments with members of the DNTDs. All representatives of the ministries - BMBF, BMG, BMZ - emphasized that the fight against NTDs would also play a role in the future and that programs would be continued.

The members of the DNTDs pointed out that the adoption of the WHO Roadmap 2030 (November 12, 2020) will bring about a paradigm shift in the fight against neglected tropical diseases, away from control and towards elimination. This process will require different methods in the future and the need for drugs will increase by 2030. It is important that the fight against NTD is embedded in health programs and that cross-sectoral programs are supported more intensively.

First virtual World Health Summit 2020

Berlin – 26.10.2020 The DNTDs workshop at the first virtual World Health Summit 2020 focused on the COVID 19 crisis and the effects on the measures to eradicate neglected tropical diseases. Dr. Mwele Malecela, WHO, Director of Department of Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically impacted advances in the eradication of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). Implementation of NTD programs has been suspended following the initial WHO recommendations, but a differentiated decision-making framework for resumption of mass treatment and other NTD interventions is now in place. This means that the annual mass drug administration cycles have been interrupted, no monitoring and evaluation has been carried out, little to no operational research was implemented, work is slowly resuming. Dr. Johannes Waltz from Merck pointed out that if COVID-19 NTD interventions are disrupted for a longer period of time, the probability is high that the exposure to NTDs will increase again and long-term efforts will be lost. Dr. Irene Ayakaka from DAHW described for the East African region how the NTD community has adapted programs and guidelines, faced the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and continued on the path to eradicate NTDs. Makoy Yibi Logara, the NTD program coordinator for the country of South Sudan, emphasized that NTD programs offer unique platforms that reach all communities in their target areas, thus ensuring prevention and treatment, even for those who often do not have access to health care benefit the fight against COVID-19. Constanze Bönig then pointed out, how NTD control programs can be combined with the One Health approach and that the German government is building a new "One Health" focus in the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. Prof. Dr. Achim Hörauf, spokesman for the DNTD and director of the Institute for Medical Microbiology, Immunology and Parasitology at the Bonn University Hospital and Dr. Dr. Carsten Köhler, Director of the Competence Center Tropical Medicine Baden-Württemberg, Institute for Tropical Medicine, Travel Medicine and Human Parasitology, University Hospital, Eberhard-Karls-Universität Tübingen moderated the event.

More information is available here.

Bonn / Berlin - August 27, 2020. Experts from the DNTDs and the German WASH network discussed the importance of WASH (= water, sanitation, hygiene) for combating neglected tropical diseases at a virtual event for the Week for Water and Development (WW4D) organized by the German Society for International cooperation (GIZ). Dr. Anthony Solomon, WHO Department of Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases, pointed out the importance of building partnerships in the WASH community in order to implement the new WHO-NTD roadmap worldwide. Constanze Bönig from Veterinaires sans Frontières described the numerous possibilities with the ONE Health approach to combine WASH activities with the fight against neglected tropical diseases. Dr. Ngozi Ekeke, from DAHW Nigeria, emphasized the importance of clean water for wound healing of infectious diseases such as leprosy. Ghion Shumetie from CBM Ethiopia explained that he and his team often have to create interest in better sanitary facilities in rural areas, and teach simple techniques like hand washing or building and using latrines. Birgit Pickel, Head of department at the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) underlined the importance of the holistic approach to combine human and animal health with environmental issues in order to reduce health risks. She regretted that due to COVID-19 the Kigali Declaration (update of the London Declaration on combating NTDs) had to be postponed and that the BMZ would like to support the efforts in the coming year.

Berlin, July 10, 2020. In a statement on the German EU-Council-Presidency and neglected tropical diseases, the DNTDs welcomes the fact that the German government wants to use the presidency to build on the priorities of its last G7 and G20 presidencies by prominently putting Global Health on the agenda. However, DNTDs also warns to  focus only  on infections and pandemic prevention caused by the COVID-19 experiences, and demands to help poor countries to build up resilient health systems.   . In particular, the so-called "One Health" concept should come more into focus. The DNTDs also calls for more attention in the EU for the implementation of the new WHO roadmap against neglected tropical diseases. There also are forecasts that climate change will increase neglected tropical diseases, which are transmitted by mosquitoes, flies and worms. They increasingly will spread in Southeast Europe.  The German Network is committed to ensuring that the fight against NTDs is reflected more strongly in the programs of German and European politics. The statement was sent to Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel and to the EU President Dr. Ursula von der Leyen.

New Challenges and Opportunities?

Berlin / Bonn / London / Nairobi, June 24, 2020. The focus of the WEB TALK was on combating neglected tropical diseases in times of the COVID-19 pandemic. The panelists were Prof. Dr. Achim Hörauf, Speaker for the German Network against Neglected Tropical Diseases, Director of the Institute for Medical Microbiology, Immunology and Parasitology at the University Hospital Bonn and consultant in the subgroup Lymphatic Filariasis of the DTAG (diagnostics technical advisory groups) of the WHO, Dr. Georg Kippels, Member of the German Bundestag, Speaker of the Parliamentary Advisory Board on Combating Neglected Tropical Diseases and Strengthening Health Systems, Member of the Global Health Subcommittee, Prof. Dr. Martin Kollmann, specialist consultant at CBM for neglected tropical diseases, CBM Nairobi and Dr. Johannes Waltz, Head, Schistosomiasis Elimination Program and Global Schistosomiasis Alliance, Global Health, Group Corporate Affairs, Merck KGaA. The event was moderated by Ute Lange.

All the participants agreed that COVID-19 currently dominates the health policy agenda thus making it more difficult to combat neglected tropical diseases. On the other hand, through this pandemic health issues have gained more attention again. COVID-19 has shown again that diseases don’t know borders. Therefore, resilient health systems - all over the world - are crucial. Dr Johannes Waltz from Merck, explained that although the current situation presents Merck with a "tremendous challenge", his company will clearly stand by its engagement. They will adhere to the commitments to combat NTDs even beyond the London Declaration. Dr. Georg Kippels welcomed the fact that the Federal Government, in particular the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) heard the warning and made health a priority issue in development cooperation again. He emphasized that projects that contribute to a sustainable health system should be sustainable and therefore need long term financing. Prof. Martin Kollmann emphasized that the pandemics COVID and Ebola as well as the neglected tropical diseases have common roots that are based on inequality and weak health systems. In international global health, the NTDs should be used - even more than before - as an indicator to proof whether a health system can ensure comprehensive care. Prof. Dr. Achim Hörauf expressed his hope that joint efforts together with the relevant ministries will be made on the topics of digitization, regionalization, better diagnostics and hospital partnerships in order to meet future challenges such as urbanization and climate change.