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Dear Friends,
 
As 2019 comes to a close it is good to reflect on an intense year of activity and recognize the many achievements of esteemed partners, who work tirelessly in endemic countries to stop the damaging impact of schistosomiasis. It is a real pleasure to work with such dedicated and remarkable colleagues. Two important examples of progress this year include the improvements being formulated for mapping and drug delivery which will lead to targeted treatments and better use of donated praziquantel, opening up the possibility of reaching and treating those previously excluded, and the increased recognition of the morbidities associated with genital schistosomiasis leading to both increased funding and much needed operational research. 
 
We would like to give huge thanks to WHO for their inspiring work developing the new NTD roadmap, involving wide consultation with the NTD and public health communities. Next year will see the launch of the new WHO NTD roadmap and hopefully many endemic countries will move forward with their plans  to eliminate schistosomiasis as a public health problem. Below we bring you some exciting news from the schistosomiasis community, and some events to look out for next year. In the meantime, we wish you all a most enjoyable festive season and the GSA secretariat would like to thank you for a wonderful year together!

Joint WHO and UNAIDS Advocacy for FGS

The WHO and Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) call for the integration of Female Genital Schistosomiasis (FGS) in women's health services in Africa.
Find Out More Here.

ESPEN MDA Optimization Tool

The WHO Expanded Special Project for the Elimination of NTDs (ESPEN) has developed a new tool to support countries optimize MDA.
The tool analyzes the country's schistosomiasis prevalence data at the sub-implementation unit level.
Find Out More Here.

Wold NTD Day

The 30 January 2020 will be the first-ever World Neglected Tropical Diseases Day! We’re so proud to stand with global partners to ensure these diseases get the attention & investment they deserve. Sign up & learn more here.
 

GSA working groups and work streams

This year the GSA set up task teams, called work streams, working on specific outputs.  The first work stream was set up to bring togther experts on schistosomiasis diagnostics. The Diagnostic work stream falls under the remit of the M&E and Research working groups. One of the first outputs from this work stream is a list of current commercially available diagnostic tests for schistosomiasis which will be presented as a briefing document in the new year. Another new work stream focused on Urban Schistosomiasis, and resulted in a succesful breakout session on Urban Schistosomiasis and Trachoma at this years COR NTD meeting, the session report will be available soon, watch this space. The Research working group organised a session at the European Congress on Tropical Medicine and International Health called "Schistosomiasis Control Through the Ages", a report on the innovative research presented is being prepared. Members of the Behaviour Change and Health Education working group adapted a Teacher Toolkit used in the Zanzibar Elimination of Schistosomiasis Transmission project into a format that can be used and tailored to other endemic settings and local areas. You can find out more about the Teacher Toolkits for Schistosomiasis here.
Read About Our Working Groups

Exciting News and Upcoming Events

WHO report on schistosomiasis treatment in 2018

Finally, we close the year with the latest treatment data from the WHO (2018):  95.3 million people (76.2 million SAC and 19.1 million adults) received treatment for schistosomiasis. The 76.2 million school-aged children represent 61.2% coverage. Find out more and download the report here.
 
Thank you all for your collaborative work and we much look forward to working with you in 2020!
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