Posts tagged neglected diseases

Photo by Wendy Marijnissen
5-year-old Umeda is undergoing arduous treatment for drug-resistant TB in Tajikistan. She gets a gold star every day when she takes her medicine. http://bit.ly/1dq2zSb

Photo by Wendy Marijnissen

5-year-old Umeda is undergoing arduous treatment for drug-resistant TB in Tajikistan. She gets a gold star every day when she takes her medicine. http://bit.ly/1dq2zSb

Fatal Neglect:  The Global Health Revolution’s Forgotten Patients

Today we’re launching a six-part film series that tells the stories of patients left behind by the global health revolution. VII Photo Agency’s Seamus Murphy, Venetia Dearden, Ron Haviv, and John Stanmeyer document the impact of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, the three deadliest neglected tropical diseases — (visceral leishmaniasis (kala azar), Human African Trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), and Chagas — and vaccine-preventable diseases.

Photo: Sleeping Sickness in South Sudan 2012 © John Stanmeyer/VII
Fatal NeglectSleeping Sickness: The Long Road
For centuries, sleeping sickness, or Human African Trypanosomiasis (HAT), caused havoc in isolated reaches of Africa, preying on people with no access to medical care or those unaware of the biological dangers they faced when wading into a foreign land.
Sleeping sickness is endemic in 36 African countries and around 60 million people are at risk of being infected. Spread by the bite of a tsetse fly, the disease was signaled by the onset of fever, headaches, and joint pain, followed by disorientation and profound fatigue that makes it difficult to stay awake—hence the name sleeping sickness.
Between 1986 and 2010, MSF teams in several countries screened nearly 3 million people and treated more than 51,000 for the disease. At present, MSF has sleeping sickness programs in several other African countries as well. Collectively, this experience has made clear the need not only for ongoing vigilance, but also for new and easier diagnostic tests and shorter, more adaptable treatment regimens for patients.
VII Photo’s John Stanmeyer joined one of MSF’s mobile HAT teams, which was designed to augment fixed-site screening and treatment activities in Central Africa, allowing him a firsthand look at the modern-day effort to battle this age-old scourge.
REGISTER NOW to join the live webcast of our conference this week on global health, neglected diseases, and R&D.

Photo: Sleeping Sickness in South Sudan 2012 © John Stanmeyer/VII

Fatal Neglect
Sleeping Sickness: The Long Road

For centuries, sleeping sickness, or Human African Trypanosomiasis (HAT), caused havoc in isolated reaches of Africa, preying on people with no access to medical care or those unaware of the biological dangers they faced when wading into a foreign land.

Sleeping sickness is endemic in 36 African countries and around 60 million people are at risk of being infected. Spread by the bite of a tsetse fly, the disease was signaled by the onset of fever, headaches, and joint pain, followed by disorientation and profound fatigue that makes it difficult to stay awake—hence the name sleeping sickness.

Between 1986 and 2010, MSF teams in several countries screened nearly 3 million people and treated more than 51,000 for the disease. At present, MSF has sleeping sickness programs in several other African countries as well. Collectively, this experience has made clear the need not only for ongoing vigilance, but also for new and easier diagnostic tests and shorter, more adaptable treatment regimens for patients.

VII Photo’s John Stanmeyer joined one of MSF’s mobile HAT teams, which was designed to augment fixed-site screening and treatment activities in Central Africa, allowing him a firsthand look at the modern-day effort to battle this age-old scourge.

REGISTER NOW to join the live webcast of our conference this week on global health, neglected diseases, and R&D.

In December 2012, MSF, VII Photo and UNION HZ will release FATAL NEGLECT, a five-part documentary film project, to tell the stories of millions of patients left behind by the global health revolution.
The award-winning photojournalists traveled to Mali, Paraguay, South Sudan, and Tajikistan to capture the stories of frontline health workers trying to fight diseases that affect millions of people and kill hundreds of thousands each year yet garner little attention from drug developers, policy makers, or the mass media.
REGISTER NOW to join the live webcast of our conference this week on global health, neglected diseases, and R&D.

In December 2012, MSF, VII Photo and UNION HZ will release FATAL NEGLECT, a five-part documentary film project, to tell the stories of millions of patients left behind by the global health revolution.

The award-winning photojournalists traveled to Mali, Paraguay, South Sudan, and Tajikistan to capture the stories of frontline health workers trying to fight diseases that affect millions of people and kill hundreds of thousands each year yet garner little attention from drug developers, policy makers, or the mass media.

REGISTER NOW to join the live webcast of our conference this week on global health, neglected diseases, and R&D.

Photo: South Sudan 2012 © John Stanmeyer/VII
International Medical Conference to Assess Progress and Shortcomings of Global Health Revolution for Neglected Patients
Lives in the Balance: Delivering Medical Innovations for Neglected Patients and Populations will bring together top minds in global health. The goal will be to examine the progress and shortcomings of a decade’s worth of international initiatives aimed at addressing urgent health needs of the poorest populations in the world.
Register for the online webcast

Photo: South Sudan 2012 © John Stanmeyer/VII

International Medical Conference to Assess Progress and Shortcomings of Global Health Revolution for Neglected Patients

Lives in the Balance: Delivering Medical Innovations for Neglected Patients and Populations will bring together top minds in global health. The goal will be to examine the progress and shortcomings of a decade’s worth of international initiatives aimed at addressing urgent health needs of the poorest populations in the world.

Register for the online webcast

Sleeping  Sickness: Treating a Neglected Disease in Central African Republic

Sleeping sickness, which is transmitted by the tsetse fly, is mainly found in central Africa. During the first stage of the illness, people feel feverish and weak, but once the parasite enters their central nervous system, their symptoms change, and they become confused, lose their coordination, and suffer sleep disturbances and personality changes. Their mental faculties deteriorate until eventually they sink into a coma—the long sleep which gives the illness its name. Since 2006, monitoring and controlling sleeping sickness in the remote and inaccessible southeast of CAR has been particularly difficult due to cross-border attacks by the Ugandan rebel group known as the Lord’s Resistance Army.
This past July, MSF’s mobile sleeping sickness team spent 18 days screening and treating people for the disease in Mboki, in CAR’s Haut M’boumou region. In the week before screening started, community health workers, with the help of local authorities, traveled around the area raising awareness of the disease and passing on the message that free testing and treatment were available.Photo: An MSF health worker checks a young boy for signs of sleeping sickness in Mboki, Central African Republic.CAR 2012 © Sebastian Bolesch

Sleeping Sickness: Treating a Neglected Disease in Central African Republic

Sleeping sickness, which is transmitted by the tsetse fly, is mainly found in central Africa. During the first stage of the illness, people feel feverish and weak, but once the parasite enters their central nervous system, their symptoms change, and they become confused, lose their coordination, and suffer sleep disturbances and personality changes. Their mental faculties deteriorate until eventually they sink into a coma—the long sleep which gives the illness its name.

Since 2006, monitoring and controlling sleeping sickness in the remote and inaccessible southeast of CAR has been particularly difficult due to cross-border attacks by the Ugandan rebel group known as the Lord’s Resistance Army.

This past July, MSF’s mobile sleeping sickness team spent 18 days screening and treating people for the disease in Mboki, in CAR’s Haut M’boumou region. In the week before screening started, community health workers, with the help of local authorities, traveled around the area raising awareness of the disease and passing on the message that free testing and treatment were available.

Photo: An MSF health worker checks a young boy for signs of sleeping sickness in Mboki, Central African Republic.
CAR 2012 © Sebastian Bolesch

Interview: Fighting Neglected Diseases Among Italy’s Migrant Populations

Since early 2012, more than 1,000 migrants have arrived on the tiny Italian island of Lampedusa, Sicily by boat from Libya. Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is monitoring the humanitarian and medical situation and providing screening and treatment for tuberculosis and Chagas disease, two neglected diseases to which migrants are particularly vulnerable. In this interview, Dr. Silvia Garelli, MSF head of mission in Italy, discusses MSF’s activities there and the health challenges migrants face.What is MSF currently doing to help migrants in Italy?
The conditions and health situation faced by migrants without papers in the centers for identification and expulsion continue to be extremely dire, and the situation has been aggravated by an extension of the detention period up to 18 months. Health services at these are subcontracted to private firms instead of being provided by the Ministry of Public Health, and a lack of effective coordination is causing problems that directly affect patients. For example, diseases such as tuberculosis that must be detected very early are poorly diagnosed and treated among migrants, despite the existence of national protocols. Outside of the centers, MSF has identified another medical need that primarily affects migrants (in this case, those from Latin America) and that is not covered by the national system at all: diagnosis and treatment of Chagas disease. Chagas is caused by a parasite transmitted to humans by the bite of insects especially prevalent in Latin America.Read the rest of the interview here.Photo: Night view of Mineo, an asylum-seeker’s village where MSF provides mental health care for migrants.

Italy 2011 © Mattia Insolera

Interview: Fighting Neglected Diseases Among Italy’s Migrant Populations

Since early 2012, more than 1,000 migrants have arrived on the tiny Italian island of Lampedusa, Sicily by boat from Libya. Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is monitoring the humanitarian and medical situation and providing screening and treatment for tuberculosis and Chagas disease, two neglected diseases to which migrants are particularly vulnerable. In this interview, Dr. Silvia Garelli, MSF head of mission in Italy, discusses MSF’s activities there and the health challenges migrants face.

What is MSF currently doing to help migrants in Italy?

The conditions and health situation faced by migrants without papers in the centers for identification and expulsion continue to be extremely dire, and the situation has been aggravated by an extension of the detention period up to 18 months. Health services at these are subcontracted to private firms instead of being provided by the Ministry of Public Health, and a lack of effective coordination is causing problems that directly affect patients. For example, diseases such as tuberculosis that must be detected very early are poorly diagnosed and treated among migrants, despite the existence of national protocols. Outside of the centers, MSF has identified another medical need that primarily affects migrants (in this case, those from Latin America) and that is not covered by the national system at all: diagnosis and treatment of Chagas disease. Chagas is caused by a parasite transmitted to humans by the bite of insects especially prevalent in Latin America.

Read the rest of the interview here.

Photo: Night view of Mineo, an asylum-seeker’s village where MSF provides mental health care for migrants.
Italy 2011 © Mattia Insolera

Fighting Neglect: Sleeping Sickness

Sleeping Sickness is a fatal and much neglected disease that plagues parts of Africa.

Learn more about sleeping sickness and other neglected diseases.

Fighting Neglect: Kala azar

Kala Azar is a neglected tropical disease responsible for 50,000 deaths every year.Kala azar is a disease that, if left untreated, is 100 percent fatal. To break the vicious cycle that leaves tropical diseases like Kala azar neglected, existing programs that diagnose and treat patients need to be expanded and medical research to develop simpler, more effective tools needs to be supported.

Learn more about Kala Azar and other neglected diseases.

Fighting Neglect: Chagas:

Chagas is a parasitic disease found on the American continent, where it affects an estimated 8 to 10 million people and claims up to 12,500 lives every year.

Learn more about Chagas and other neglected diseases.

DNDi and New Drugs for Neglected Diseases

Founded in 2003, the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) brings together the academic, medical, public health, and pharmaceutical worlds to create effective drugs to treat neglected diseases like Chagas disease, sleeping sickness, and visceral leishmaniasis. DNDi has developed an innovative not-for-profit model for drug research and development that is patient-centered and based on needs rather than profits. 

in 2003 MSF brought together five prominent public sector research institutes—Brazil’s Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, the Indian Council for Medical Research, the Kenya Medical Research Institute, the Ministry of Health of Malaysia, and France’s Pasteur Institute—and the UNDP/World Bank/World Health Organization’s Special Program for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases to create DNDi.

In just seven years, under the leadership of former General Director of MSF in France, Dr. Bernard Pecoul, DNDi has introduced six new treatments: two treatments for drug-resistant malaria that have already reached 150 million people; the first new treatment in 25 years for the advanced stage of sleeping sickness; for visceral leishmaniasis, a new combination therapy for patients in Africa and a set of combination therapies for patients in South Asia; and a new child-adapted Chagas disease drug formulation.
Photo: Screening for Chagas in Colombia.
Colombia 2010 © Mads Nissen

DNDi and New Drugs for Neglected Diseases

Founded in 2003, the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) brings together the academic, medical, public health, and pharmaceutical worlds to create effective drugs to treat neglected diseases like Chagas disease, sleeping sickness, and visceral leishmaniasis. DNDi has developed an innovative not-for-profit model for drug research and development that is patient-centered and based on needs rather than profits.

in 2003 MSF brought together five prominent public sector research institutes—Brazil’s Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, the Indian Council for Medical Research, the Kenya Medical Research Institute, the Ministry of Health of Malaysia, and France’s Pasteur Institute—and the UNDP/World Bank/World Health Organization’s Special Program for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases to create DNDi.

In just seven years, under the leadership of former General Director of MSF in France, Dr. Bernard Pecoul, DNDi has introduced six new treatments: two treatments for drug-resistant malaria that have already reached 150 million people; the first new treatment in 25 years for the advanced stage of sleeping sickness; for visceral leishmaniasis, a new combination therapy for patients in Africa and a set of combination therapies for patients in South Asia; and a new child-adapted Chagas disease drug formulation.

Photo: Screening for Chagas in Colombia.
Colombia 2010 © Mads Nissen

US and EU Derailing Ten-year Process to Create Health Research & Development Convention

The US and European Union delegations to the World Health Assembly are currently blocking efforts to move towards a binding convention on health R&D aimed at filling critical medical gaps for people in developing countries. MSF urged the US and European governments, who are leading the developed country effort, to stop obstructing a process that has been 10 years in the making and has broad support from developing countries.

MSF called on developing countries to continue efforts to progress towards a convention. Such a convention would require all governments to contribute financially to support R&D in key priority areas and would crucially separate—or de-link—the cost of R&D from the price of medical products, so that these are made affordable.Photo:The new MenAfriVac vaccine.
2012 © MSF

US and EU Derailing Ten-year Process to Create Health Research & Development Convention

The US and European Union delegations to the World Health Assembly are currently blocking efforts to move towards a binding convention on health R&D aimed at filling critical medical gaps for people in developing countries. MSF urged the US and European governments, who are leading the developed country effort, to stop obstructing a process that has been 10 years in the making and has broad support from developing countries.

MSF called on developing countries to continue efforts to progress towards a convention. Such a convention would require all governments to contribute financially to support R&D in key priority areas and would crucially separate—or de-link—the cost of R&D from the price of medical products, so that these are made affordable.

Photo:The new MenAfriVac vaccine. 2012 © MSF

Paraguay: Standing up to Chagas: Slideshow

Chagas is a neglected disease that affects between eight and ten million people, mainly in Latin America. MSF works in Paraguay’s rural Chaco region, going into isolated communities to educate people about the disease and screen them for it. Internationally, MSF fights to improve access to diagnosis and treatment for the disease and advocates for more research and development into its treatment.Photo:Paraguay 2012 © Anna Surinyach/MSF
The first step in fighting Chagas is raising awareness amongst the population. The disease can remain asymptomatic for years, so many infected people do not know they are carrying it. MSF is working with health staff and community leaders throughout Chaco to explain what Chagas is to the population.

Paraguay: Standing up to Chagas: Slideshow

Chagas is a neglected disease that affects between eight and ten million people, mainly in Latin America. MSF works in Paraguay’s rural Chaco region, going into isolated communities to educate people about the disease and screen them for it. Internationally, MSF fights to improve access to diagnosis and treatment for the disease and advocates for more research and development into its treatment.

Photo:Paraguay 2012 © Anna Surinyach/MSF

The first step in fighting Chagas is raising awareness amongst the population. The disease can remain asymptomatic for years, so many infected people do not know they are carrying it. MSF is working with health staff and community leaders throughout Chaco to explain what Chagas is to the population.

Chagas in Paraguay: The Scourge of the Vinchuca

In Paraguay, MSF is covering the rural Chaco region, encouraging people to be tested and treated for Chagas, a widespread but little known and potentially fatal disease.

Phumeza is an XDR-TB patient and a blogger for the TB&ME project. This is her first video blog from her home at a TB patient facility in South Africa. Read Phumeza’s TB&ME blog here.