Posts Tagged: “Onchocerciasis”

In the Field with HKI-Sierra Leone

This blog post was written by Anitra Sprauten. Anitra graduated from Bowdoin College in 2012 with a degree in Government & Legal Studies and French. Originally from New York, she is finishing up the academic year as an English teaching assistant at the University of Western Brittany in France. She hopes to return working with INGOs to improve standards of public education and public health in less economically developed countries. 

Overlooking Kroo Bay in Freetown

Overlooking the city from a steep hill in Tengbeh Town, the Helen Keller International (HKI) office in Freetown, Sierra Leone is frequented by visitors from many sectors. HKI does a wonderful job of coordinating its efforts with the Ministry of Health (MOH) and other non-governmental organizations, so while the office itself is not very large, its reach spans the entire country.

For many, Sierra Leone is a country of extreme hardship. Maternal and child mortality rates are very high and the general population lives with very little income. However, residents of Freetown have a profound entrepreneurial spirit, and those who do not have steady employment work as petty traders. The city experienced a rapid boom of urbanization, and as the population continues to grow, Freetown continues to catch up. more…

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Categories Africa

Cameroon Completes its NTD Map

This article was written by Emily Toubali and Claire Coveney from HKI and was originally published in the March/April 2013 article of USAID’s Frontlines (scroll to second article).

After flipping tens of thousands of eyelids and spending countless hours peering into a microscope, a critical step toward the control and elimination of five neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) in Cameroon has been reached.

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Categories Africa, Preventing Blindness

Connecting Nutrition and Neglected Tropical Diseases

HKI experts make the case to include nutritional interventions in programs that treat NTDs.
Cameroon Drug Distribution

HKI’s Shawn Baker, Yaobi Zhang, and Chad MacArthur recently contributed to an article on the role of nutrition in controlling Neglected Tropical Diseases published in the journal, BMC Medicine. Below is a blog about the article, which originally appeared on BioMed Central Blog, that argues this research could have major implications for the way NTD programs are delivered in the future.

Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are a group of poverty-associated chronic infectious diseases, which are endemic in poor and rural populations in the developing countries of Africa, America and Asia. NTDs affect over 1.4 billion people worldwide and cause severe morbidity and mortality; their impact in sub-Saharan Africa is comparable to malaria or tuberculosis. The diseases, which include river blindness, leprosy and intestinal worms, are transmitted by insect bites or worms in the soil, and are easily spread in areas with poor sanitation.

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Categories Africa, Reducing Malnutrition

Integrated NTD control in Mali

Lessons learned in Mali can serve as example for other countries implementing integrated NTD programs.
Mali Map PLOS

This post was written by Amy Alabaster and first appeared on the End the Neglect blog.

In many parts of the world where NTDs run rampant, it’s not uncommon to see communities affected by 2, 3 or even all seven of the most common NTDs. Because of this, countries and other stakeholders involved in NTD control are increasing efforts to integrate disease control programs. Integration helps to reach more people with the drugs needed to treat and prevent NTD infections, while cutting down on costs and resource demands.

In 2007, Mali was one of five ‘fast-track’ countries, supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), managed by RTI International and assisted by Helen Keller International, to launch an integrated national NTD Control Program. A paper recently published in the Public Library of Sciences (PLoS) NTDs describes the successes and lessons learned so far through the implementation of this program.

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Categories Africa, Preventing Blindness

Test Your Knowledge!

A Global Blindness Facts Quiz
Quiz

How much do you know about blindness and visual impairment? Take our quiz to test your global health knowledge!

Instructions: Answer all 5 questions. Once you are finished the correct answers will be displayed.

How many people worldwide are visually impaired?





What percentage of all visual impairment is avoidable by prevention, treatment or cure?





What percentage of the world's visually impaired live in developing countries?    





Globally, what is the most common cause of visual impairment?





Which of the following blinding diseases can be  prevented or treated?









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Categories Preventing Blindness

End of the Adventure: Five Strategies for Fighting Malnutrition

Doug reflects on how HKI is preventing blindness and reducing malnutrition for the most vulnerable in West Africa.
Breastfeeding in Kolifo

Today, we drove the 150 miles from Fada N’Gourma to Ouagadougou – the last leg before flying out tomorrow morning. On arriving in Ouagadougou, Nicholas Kristof and the “Win-a-Trip” winners visited a center for supporting people living with HIV. Over the course of the past week, Shawn Baker and I have accompanied Nick through four countries – Mauritania, Senegal, Niger and Burkina Faso. We’ve been in numerous villages, and we’ve spoken in depth with many people – mostly women – about the challenges of their lives and the solutions to help improve their lot.

In pursuit of HKI’s mission to prevent blindness and reduce undernutrition, we focus on two major program areas in Africa – fighting malnutrition (particularly micronutrient deficiency), and controlling certain tropical diseases, such as trachoma and onchocerciasis. During this past week, we have seen some successful programs in each of these areas. During these days, I’ve been reflecting on HKI’s approach to reducing malnutrition.

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Categories Africa, Preventing Blindness, Reducing Malnutrition

More Frightening Than Lions

Doug Steinberg goes to a village in Niger that has eliminated the threat of River Blindness thanks to mass drug distribution.
Doug Steinberg with Kalifa Doumbia, a community distributor v2

Doug Steinberg, HKI’s Deputy Regional Director for West Africa, joins the team traveling with NY Times Journalist, Nicholas Kristof. The picture to the left is Doug with Kalifa Doumbia, a community distributor of the drug, Ivermectin.

The village of Moli is located about 85 miles south of Niger’s capital Niamey on the edge of the W National Park, a wildlife reserve with big game, small creatures and a variety of bird-life. The area lies west of the Niger River, with many tributaries flowing through it. These streams dry up in the long, dry season, but they come to life in the rainy season, which is just beginning. Among the life is the black fly, a vector for Onchocerciasis (river blindness).

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Categories Africa, Preventing Blindness

World Traveler for Public Health: Meet HKI’s Nancy Haselow

An interview with HKI's Vice President and Regional Director for Asia-Pacific
Nancy Haselow in China

Have you ever met anyone who has visited and worked in over 50 countries and lived in Zaïre, Niger, Cambodia, Vietnam, The Philippines, Cameroon, Senegal and the U.S.? We have, and it’s our Vice President and Regional Director for Asia-Pacific, Nancy J. Haselow. I recently asked Nancy to tell us about her career in public health, and found someone who is not only an inveterate traveler, but also a tireless crusader for improving the lives of as many vulnerable people as possible.

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Categories Africa, Asia-Pacific, Helen Keller, Preventing Blindness, Reducing Malnutrition, Staff Profiles, United States

How to Be Inspired by Your Job Every Day: Meet HKI’s Kathy Spahn

An interview with HKI's President and CEO
Kathy Spahn in Mozambique

Have you ever dreamt about having more fun at your job, or wondered why some people really look forward to going to work every day? Ask Kathy Spahn, President and Chief Executive Officer of Helen Keller International, about her work. Even after five years, she still feels rewarded and energized by her job. I recently asked Kathy to tell us about her journey to HKI and what inspires her the most.

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Categories Africa, Asia-Pacific, Helen Keller, Preventing Blindness, Reducing Malnutrition, Staff Profiles, United States

Which NTD Should I Fake to Get Out of Work?

Written by: Alanna Shaikh and re-posted from End the Neglect, the blog for the Global Network of Neglected Tropical Diseases.

So, it’s been a long week and you can’t quite find the energy to get out of bed and go to work [1]. Staying home sick is a hard sell on Fridays; the same old stomach bug isn’t going to cut it. So why not fake an NTD instead [2]? You can’t just claim any old neglected tropical disease, though. That wouldn’t be realistic at all. This is going to take a little research.

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Categories Preventing Blindness