M a r k e t N e w s

Researchers converge in Nairobi to strategize the fight against NTDs

Posted on : Friday, 16th September 2016

 Over 200 researchers from Africa and Japan have converged in Nairobi for a two-day joint symposium to explore areas of research in the fight against Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs).

The conference which started on Thursday brings together NTD Coordinators and Researchers from 40 countries to leverage on research, technology, science and innovation opportunities that will inform interventions in the fight against the diseases.
According to the Head of the NTD Unit, Ministry of Health Dr. Sultani Matendechero, the conference is timely since research is expectd to determine the distribution and severity of the disease burden, that will enable policy makers to properly monitor interventions such as vector control, mass drug administration, sanitation improvement and education.
“Research will help us know how to address these diseases by telling us the number of infected people, the intensity and specific areas. Technology will help us to know the disease trends and we will be able to know if our interventions are working,” he explained.
The Minister-counsellor of Japan to Kenya, Mr. Yoshihiro Katayama noted that the conference will foster cooperation between Africa and Japan in addition to examining ways of controlling other infectious diseases.
“Japan is committed to supporting research in Africa and is interested in extending support to improve research capacities on the continent,” he observed.
The delegates are drawn from Burkina Faso, Egypt, Gambia, Ghana and Nigeria.
During the symposium delegates from Burkina Faso featured an innovative method that seeks to control dengue fever by killing any mosquito that carries the disease-causing virus.
Africa bears about 90 percent of the NTDs burden in the world. Sub Saharan Africa is reported to be the worst hit with most countries having more than five endemic NTDs. Citizens in these countries suffer from more than one NTD at any given time.
“More than 50 percent of people in Sub Saharan Africa suffer from at least one NTD which means that emphasis should be put in handling these diseases in Africa,” said Dr. Matendechero.
Major discussions centered on the Multiplex technology which can detect over 30 diseases from a single sample of blood. This technology will increase efficiency in testing for diseases and reduce the turnaround time that is taken before an appropriate intervention is determined.
“This means that doctors won’t have to keep getting samples to test for different diseases,” Dr. Matendechero said.
The conference comes after the Sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development and rides on the platform of International Collaborative Research Programme for tackling NTDs.

Source : www.health.go.ke
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