Workshop at the World Health Summit: Neglected Tropical Diseases and their Co-Morbidities

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.

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