Neglected Tropical Diseases
NTDs affect over 1 billion people worldwide and kills an estimated 534,000 people annually. Chronic parasitic infections such as schistosomiasis (Bilharzia) or Soil Transmitted Helminthes (STH) can weaken protection against other diseases like malaria and HIV/AIDS and can cause weakened responses to vaccines. Apart from diseases and deaths associated with NTDs, the economic impact for afflicted communities is also quite high.
The Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD) Branch was established in March 2011 to expand the KEMRI/CDC Schistosomiasis Research Program which was established in 1994 at KEMRI’s Center for Global Health Research in Kisumu. The Schistosomiasis Research Program’s first mandate was to establish a laboratory in western Kenya capable of conducting high quality research and training on schistosomiasis. Over the years, the laboratory has grown into an internationally acknowledged facility with highly qualified staff capable of high standards of basic, translational and applied research.
With support from University of Georgia Research Foundation (UGRF), the NTD program is providing mass drug treatment for schistosomiasis and soil transmitted helminthes (STH) through a collaboration with schools and communities treating over 225 communities along the shores of Lake Victoria.
- Research focused on understanding the immunology, geographic distribution and prevalence of neglected tropical diseases and study their impact on co-infections with other illnesses like TB and HIV and in so doing develop control strategies for affected communities
- NTD Branch is working closely with MOH in Nyanza, strengthening MOH research capacity through the Division of Vector Borne and Neglected Tropical Diseases
- KEMRI/CDC’s NTD program addresses the region’s toughest health problems at their source, directly working with vulnerable families and communities in local hospitals, clinics and schools