Water Currents: WASH & Neglected Tropical Diseases

Water Currents is produced biweekly by USAID’s E3 Water Office. Each issue contains recent news and articles on water sector issues, partner and donor updates, latest sector research, and a special focus on one topic. Please provide your feedback and suggestions by contacting the waterteam@usaid.gov.

On April 19, 2017, the World Health Organization (WHO) made an important announcement about progress preventing and controlling Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs). This issue contains the WHO report mentioned in the announcement as well as other 2017 NTD studies, websites, and news. ​


Water Currents - In Focus

Publications and Videos

Integrating Neglected Tropical Diseases in Global Health and Development: Fourth WHO Report on Neglected Tropical DiseasesWHO, April 2017. This report discusses the significant progress made in reducing the health burdens caused by NTDS. These achievements result from the implementation of five WHO-recommended interventions: preventive chemotherapy; innovative and intensified disease management; vector ecology and management; veterinary public health services; and the provision of safe water, sanitation, and hygiene. An Executive Summary of the report is also available.

Sanitation for All: The Global Opportunity to Increase Transgenerational Health Gains and Better Understand the Link between NCDs and NTDsTropical Diseases, Travel Medicine and Vaccines, April 2017. This study takes a look at how the global “sanitation for all” goal will address the dual burden of NTDs and non-communicable diseases (NCDs). This qualitative review of the literature is an attempt to document the health effects of inadequate sanitation and further understand the link between sanitation and NTDs and sanitation and NCDs.

Nearly 400 Million People Are at Higher Risk of Schistosomiasis Because Dams Block the Migration of Snail-Eating River PrawnsPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, April 2017. This study estimates that one-third to one-half of the global population at risk of schistosomiasis could benefit from restoration of native prawns. Because dams block prawn migrations, results suggest that their removal contributes to the sharp increase of schistosomiasis after damming, and points to prawn restoration as an ecological solution for reducing human disease.

Global Urbanization and the Neglected Tropical DiseasesPLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, February 2017. Increasing urbanization in both developing and developed countries could promote the emergence of a new set of NTDs. While an important feature of NTDs is their disproportionate impact on populations living in rural poverty, selected diseases primarily affect the poor in urban settings. Poor urban planning, unchecked growth, and inadequate public health measures further complicate urban areas’ abilities to meet the Sustainable Development Goal targets.

World Health Organization NTD Fact Sheets. In April 2017, WHO published NTD Fact Sheets on Foodborne TrematodiasesTrachoma, DengueChikungunya, and Leishmaniasis. Additional NTD fact sheets are available on the WHO NTD web page

Formative Research for Behaviour Change StrategiesInternational Society for Neglected Tropical Diseases, February 2017. In this video, Katie Greenland from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine speaks about two studies conducted in Oromia, Ethiopia, on behavior change and trachoma control interventions.

Landscape and Environmental Influences on Mycobacterium Ulcerans Distribution among Aquatic Sites in Ghana. PLoS One, April 2017. Buruli ulcer, caused by Mycobacterium ulcerans, is highly endemic in West Africa. While the mode of transmission is unknown, many studies associate Buruli ulcer with different types of water exposure. Researchers present results from the largest study to date to test for M. ulcerans in aquatic sites and identify environmental attributes associated with its presence.

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and Environmental Risk Factors for Soil-Transmitted Helminth Intensity of Infection in Timor-Leste, Using Real Time PCRPLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, March 2017. This study provides an analysis of risk factors for intensity of soil-transmitted helminth (STH) infection and examines a broad range of WASH and environmental factors. The results indicate that anthelmintic treatment alone is insufficient to interrupt STH transmission, as conditions are favorable for ongoing environmental transmission.

Does Targeting Children with Hygiene Promotion Messages Work? The Effect of Handwashing Promotion Targeted at Children, on Diarrhoea, Soil-Transmitted Helminth Infections and Behaviour Change, in Low- and Middle-Income CountriesTropical Medicine and International Health, March 2017. This article includes findings from three studies on the effects of hygiene promotion interventions on STH infections.

Spatial Relationship between Taenia Solium Tapeworm Carriers and Necropsy Cyst Burden in PigsPLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, April 2017. Taenia solium, the pork tapeworm, is a parasite transmitted between humans and pigs. This study investigated if proximity to human tapeworm carriers was associated with established cyst infection in pigs, and if proximity to tapeworm carriers also increased the degree of cyst infection in pigs. The results confirmed that human tapeworm carriers and infected pigs are geographically correlated, but did not uncover a stronger relationship for heavily infected pigs.

Association of Community Sanitation Usage with Soil-Transmitted Helminth Infections among School-Aged Children in Amhara Region, EthiopiaParasites & Vectors, February 2017. This study examined the association between the proportion of households in a community with latrines in use and prevalence of STH infections among school-aged children. Researchers found no evidence of a protective association between community sanitation usage and STH infection and suggested the relationship may be more complex and requires further study.

Effects of Socio-Demographic Characteristics and Household Water Management on Aedes Aegypti Production in Suburban and Rural Villages in Laos and ThailandParasites & Vectors, April 2017. This study investigates household water management as a way to prevent dengue. Factors that were significantly associated with Ae. aegypti infestation were the presence of water tanks, less frequent cleaning of water containers, containers without lids, and containers located outdoors or in toilets/bathrooms.

Soil-Transmitted Helminths (STHs) and Plasmodium Falciparum Malaria among Individuals Living in Different Agroecosystems in Two Rural Communities in the Mount Cameroon Area: A Cross-Sectional StudyInfectious Diseases of Poverty, March 2017. STHs and Plasmodium falciparum infections remain public health problems in Cameroon. Living in a tea plantation area and lack of access to potable water were identified as risk factors for STH infections, while the age groups 15–25 years and 26–35 years, and being female, were significant risk factors for anemia.


USAID Neglected Tropical Diseases Program – USAID’s Neglected Tropical Diseases Program began in 2006, primarily focusing on seven diseases. The official website provides stories, partner information, and resources.

END in Africa – Through the work of its END in Africa and END in Asia programs, FHI 360 is advancing USAID’s goal of contributing to the global elimination of NTDs by reducing prevalence of seven diseases—lymphatic filariasis (elephantiasis), onchocerciasis (river blindness), schistosomiasis (snail fever), trachoma (blinding eye infection), and three soil-transmitted helminths (hookworm, roundworm, and whipworm).

ENVISION – ENVISION is an eight-year, USAID-funded project aimed at providing assistance to national NTD control programs for the control and elimination of seven targeted NTDs. Its website provides news, resources, and tools for NTD implementers.

WHO Neglected Tropical Diseases – This website has information on WHO NTD-related publications, events, data, and news.

Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases – The Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases raises awareness among the general public about NTDs and the threat they pose to poor communities.


Water Currents - In Focus


Researchers Analyze What a Warming Planet Means for Mosquito-Borne DiseasesScience Daily, May 2017. A new analysis reveals that the ideal temperature for the spread of mosquito-borne diseases like dengue, chikungunya, and Zika is 29 degrees Celsius. This finding will help predict disease outbreaks.

Nigeria: Why Nigeria Must Care About Neglected Tropical DiseasesAllAfrica, May 2017. In this op-ed, a medical student discusses the health consequences of NTDs and steps that should be taken to eliminate these diseases from Nigeria.

World in Progress: Dangerous Waters – Schistosomiasis in KenyaDW, February 2017. In this audio story, a reporter visits Lake Victoria in Kenya, where people who are exposed to its water—washing, bathing, and fishing—develop schistosomiasis, which is treatable with medication but new infections can and do occur. Prevention measures are being put in place such as installing toilets, emphasizing the importance of not urinating defecating in the lake, and providing medication to cut down on the parasite’s spread.

Mexico Becomes First in Americas to Wipe Out Tropical Eye DiseaseStabroek News, May 2017. Carissa Etienne, director of the Pan American Health Organization, attributes Mexico’s victory over trachoma to the decades-long efforts of authorities, health workers, and communities to improve health and quality of life.

Neglected Tropical Diseases: Funding the Next Stage of the FightDevex, May 2017. At a recent NTD summit in Geneva, Emily Wainwright, division chief for NTDs at USAID, argued that mainstreaming NTDs into routine health care will improve efficiencies. It was an overarching theme at the summit that the next stage of the fight against NTDs will increasingly require movement on broader health goals such as nutrition and WASH.

USAID's Plan to Eliminate NTDs: What You Need to KnowDevex, December 2016. Earlier this year, USAID marked 10 years of work on NTDs and launched a new five-year strategy to eliminate trachoma, the world's leading cause of preventable blindness, and lymphatic filariasis, a painful and disfiguring parasitic infection transmitted by mosquitoes.

If you would like to feature your organization's materials or suggest other content for upcoming issues of Water Currents, please send them to Dan Campbell, Knowledge Creation/WASH Specialist, at dcampbell@waterckm.com.


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