Activities of the DNTDs

Three Memento Prize Winners on the Board of the German Network

Berlin, February 20, 2019. This year, the Memento Prize is awarded to Prof. Jürgen May of the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine (BNITM). The 5000-euro prize was awarded in recognition of May's research on serious infectious diseases in children in Sub-Saharan Africa. Many infectious diseases in areas of Sub-Saharan Africa are caused by pathogens, which are not detected due to a lack of diagnostics and therefore not treated, even though the corresponding medications would be available. May's working group in Hamburg and Kumasi (Ghana) was able to identify the causes of the infectious diseases in various hospitals in the Ashanti region. “Serious infectious diseases often have multiple triggers. People then suffer from a variety of diseases. These coinfections, which are caused by parasites, bacteria or viruses and often count as neglected tropical diseases, worsen the course of the disease,” explains May.

“We congratulate Prof. Jürgen May on winning the Memento Prize 2019,” says Prof. Achim Hörauf, Spokesperson of the Board of the German Network against Neglected Tropical Diseases (DNTDs). “With his work and his tremendous dedication, Professor May has made a considerable contribution to the fight against neglected tropical diseases. “

Prof. Jürgen May is now the third scientific board member of the DNTDs to have been awarded the Memento Prize. In 2017, the prize went to Dr Carsten Köhler, Director of the Competence Center for Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen, for demonstrating the efficacy of a simplified artemisinin therapy in children with severe malaria and in 2015, to Prof. Achim Hörauf of the University Hospital Bonn for developing a therapy to combat parasitic roundworms (lymphatic filariasis).

German Network against Neglected Tropical Diseases (DNTDs) Supports Engagement in German States

Stuttgart/Berlin, 07 February 2019 – Baden-Württemberg has the highest number of academic institutions operating in the field of neglected tropical diseases across Germany and they boast a very high level of expertise. The federal state is also Germany's number one location in terms of the pharmaceutical industry.

Experts presented their activities in the fight against neglected tropical diseases at the joint meeting of BIOPRO Baden-Württemberg, the Association of Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies (vfa), the German network against neglected tropical diseases (DNTDs) and the BPI [German Pharmaceutical Industry Association] Baden-Württemberg.

Till Bärnighausen, Head of the Institute of Global Health at the University of Heidelberg, underlined that a collaborative approach involving politics, science, the pharmaceutical industry and civil society is crucial to the success of an initiative. Carsten Köhler, Director of the Competence Center for Tropical Medicine Baden-Württemberg at the University and University Hospital Tübingen, indicated that, in addition to humanitarian aid, technological advances are also a key driver of activities. He stated that there is a large gap when it comes to researching simple diagnostics for many NTDs, as neglected tropical diseases as a whole vary greatly. Barbara Jonishkeit of BIOPRO Baden-Württemberg believed that it is particularly useful in Baden-Württemberg to convince family companies of the expertise in this field in order to develop further markets. Franz Werner Haas of CureVac AG and Manfred Klevesath of Merck also took to the podium to represent the pharmaceutical industry. As a representative of an NGO, Gisela Schneider, Director of DIFÄM (German Institute for Medical Mission) highlighted collaboration with the existing networks on site, such as religious organizations, emphasizing that they are particularly important in terms of treatment success and, ultimately, eradication of the NTDs.

An Informal Chat with the Parliamentary State Secretary from the BMZ

Berlin, 30 January 2019 – As part of an informal chat hosted by the German Network against Neglected Tropical Diseases in collaboration with the Parliamentarian Board to Fight NTDs and Strengthen Health Systems, Dr Maria Flachsbarth, Parliamentary State Secretary in the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), emphasized the federal government's strong commitment to global health policy.

Although the considerable resources dedicated to global health policy – one billion euro each year – are channeled into the large-scale multilateral programs of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) and the GAVI vaccination programs, neglected tropical diseases are becoming increasingly important, said Dr Flachsbarth. The BMZ is campaigning to see NTDs taken into consideration by the GFATM in future. Dr Flachsbarth said it is clear that the holistic approach of the German development programs – which is also prioritized in the sustainable development goals (SDGs) – and therefore a “frontal attack” on an individual disease is not preferable. Neglected tropical diseases could benefit from cross-disciplinary approaches such as One Health and WASH and this is already happening in some areas.

In the open discussion, in which the audience was also included, it became clear that the fight against NTDs could also gain in importance in German development cooperation. The DNTDs emphasized that its members can support the BMZ in designing and launching programs to combat NTDs.

New Orleans/Berlin 26.10.2016 – Representatives from Canadian, French, German, Japanese and Swiss networks against neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) came together at the meeting of the Coalition for Operational Research on Neglected Tropical Diseases (COR-NTD). This year’s topic was “Engage to Eliminate”. Prof. Dr. Achim Hörauf, speaker of the German Network Against NTDs and Director of the Institute for Medical Microbiology, Immunology and Parasitology, University Bonn said “in the coming year, experts and Uniting to Combat NTDs (UTC) will try to plan a workshop for these networks”.

COR-NTD is a group of researchers, program implementers and their in-country partners with the shared goal of optimizing NTD control and elimination. Its aim is to create new synergies within the operational research arena for NTDs and align that research with specific program needs.

Source: vfa/Laessig

Integration in Existing Health Programmes is Possible!

Berlin, October 15, 2018. Over 100 experts gathered at the World Health Summit to discuss neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) and their co-morbidities – how they affect healthcare systems such as HIV/AIDS, anaemia among women and children, as well as mental illness. They find that co-morbidities, secondary contractions can be effectively treated or even prevented when the relation between NTDs and other diseases is discovered early enough. Thus, bladder cancer, for example, especially in sub-Saharan African countries, is often not recognized as a result of genital schistosomiasis. Integrated treatment could save lives and reduce health costs considerably.
The health consultant Dirk Engels joined the discussion and presented the new study “Integrating Neglected Tropical Diseases: Overlapping themes and projects in the German development cooperation portfolio” to an international audience. He described the link between NTDs and co-morbidities based on female genital schistosomiasis (FGS) and psychological disorders, as well as the possibility of integrating NTD-components into existing health programmes. Narcis Kabaterine, from Uganda, consultant at Imperial College/UK, pointed to the connection between FGS and HIV. He estimates that 90 percent of the women and girls infected with schistosomiasis are also affected by genital schistosomiasis and thus more susceptible to HIV. Katey Owen, Director of Department of Neglected Diseases from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation introduced a new platform for distributing medication to combat NTDs. Christoph Benn, Senior Advisor at Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria emphasized that more people from civil society would have to raise awareness for neglected tropical diseases in order to achieve the goal of leaving no-one behind. The workshop was chaired by Carsten Köhler, member of the board of DNTDs, Director Center of Excellence of Tropical Medicine, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Institute for Tropical Medicine at University Hospital Tübingen.
The German Network Against Neglected Tropical Diseases (DNTDs) and its numerous members from research, civil society and the private sector call upon the German government to finally take action and enforce an integrated approach in the treatment programmes for neglected tropical diseases by incorporating it into other health and development programmes. The new study of Dirk Engels and Christian Franz on “Integrating Neglected Tropical Diseases” commissioned by the DNTDs spells out concrete starting points and realistic modes of implementation.