Professor Fenwick, from Imperial College London, argues that up to seven neglected tropical diseases including river blindness could be brought under control, with infection by some eliminated entirely, if existing programmes increase their coverage.
In Africa some 500 million people need treatment to control diseases such as disfiguring elephantiasis (lymphatic filariasis), river blindness (onchocerciasis), schistosomiasis, intestinal worms and the blinding eye infection trachoma.
The donation of drugs by pharmaceutical companies, together with financial donations from foundations, is already having a sizeable impact, with numbers given treatment for these diseases increasing from virtually zero in 1986 to between 20 and 80 million individuals annually in 2006.
More funding is required to convince decision makers of the benefits of treatment, to improve health education material and to deliver the drugs to those who need them. The cost can be as low as 25 pence per person per year, and the impact would be rapid.
"The current situation in Africa is such that most people living close to major rivers and lakes need not be subjected to the waterborne diseases that previously plagued them," writes Professor Fenwick.
"The programmes to prevent death, blindness and disfigurement have proved that they can work, and by 2006 they are reaching ever more people with donated or inexpensive drugs. The health of children in areas that have been reached is improving, and they are gaining a better start in life," he says.
Professor Fenwick leads the Schistosomiasis Control Initiative, which is supported by a £20 million donation from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The project aims to assist countries in sub Saharan Africa to control schistosomiasis and intestinal helminths.
Laura Gallagher | alfa
Tracking movement of immune cells identifies key first steps in inflammatory arthritis
23.01.2017 | Massachusetts General Hospital
Team discovers how bacteria exploit a chink in the body's armor
20.01.2017 | University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.
According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
23.01.2017 | Health and Medicine
23.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.01.2017 | Process Engineering