Fighting NTDs in Portuguese-speaking African countries

TDR news item
12 December 2013

A move to further strengthen and develop cooperation in the prevention and treatment of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) among Portuguese - speaking African countries has begun with a recent conference. The International Society for Neglected Tropical Diseases (ISNTD), in joint partnership with the Portuguese Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon, highlighted existing scientific capacity and research and established the foundation of a network for NTD research across disciplines for the Portuguese-speaking African countries - Mozambique, Angola, Guinea Bissau, Sao Tome and Principe.

David Molyneux of the Centre for Neglected Tropical Diseases, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, gave the opening address, calling for continued advocacy for NTDs to reach the Millennium Development Goals.

Sessions included:

  • Dynamics of NTD incidence in Lusophone countries
  • African preventive and therapeutic solutions for NTDs
  • Health research centers in Africa
  • Local perspective on international cooperation

The meeting held 31 October helped to redefine the NTD stakeholder from an aid-based dependency perspective to a much wider framework that brings in local and community engagement. Topics included point-of-care diagnostics, disease mapping projects, schistosomiasis demographic surveillance system, and community engagement. Participants called for ministries of health in Lusophone African countries to help create healthier national frameworks to enhance public-private partnerships.

TDR’s research capacity research coordinator, Fabio Zicker, was invited to describe the new TDR grants designed to increase the use of research evidence for policy and practice, and the need to promote studies on effectiveness of interventions and how best to scale up implementation of tools and strategies already proven. An in-depth interview with Dr Zicker is available as part of the ISNTD Infectious Thoughts series of interviews.

The Society is planning a 15 May 2014 conference on NTD Drug Discovery and Development.

For more information, please contact

Jamie Guth
TDR Communications Manager
Telephone: +41 79 441 2289