American Leprosy Missions Awards Fifth NTD Innovation Prize
Sep 21, 2023
(Greenville, S.C., September 21, 2023) ⸺ During the closing plenary of the 14th Annual Neglected Tropical Diseases NGO Network (NNN) Conference, American Leprosy Missions awarded its fifth annual NTD Innovation Prize of $40,000.
Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) affect more than one billion of the world’s most vulnerable people. Launched in 2019, American Leprosy Missions’ NTD Innovation Prize is the first opportunity of its kind, supporting ingenuity to generate sustainable, positive impact in the fight against NTDs.
This year American Leprosy Missions, partnering with Novartis, awarded $40,000 to Dr. Tine Huyse, representing the Action Towards Reducing Aquatic snail-borne Parasitic diseases (ATRAP) initiative. Snail-borne diseases like schistosomiasis and fasciolosis are a major health concern in Africa, affecting both people and animals. Traditional drug treatments aren’t enough to combat these diseases, but the shortage of experts and data on snail locations makes it difficult to control the snails themselves. To address these challenges, ATRAP uses citizen science (CS), empowering community members to monitor snails in a method that is more cost-effective than conventional expert monitoring. ATRAP collected snail data through two CS networks in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo between 2020-2023. Now, with funding from the Prize, Huyse and the ATRAP team seek to combine this data with more sophisticated sampling methods to identify transmission sites and create a powerful “early warning system” for disease risk. This approach empowers communities, increases disease knowledge and could replace traditional surveillance in remote areas.
Since 2019, American Leprosy Missions has awarded over $180,000 to innovative projects combatting NTDs. Applications for the 2024 Prize will be accepted at ntdinnovation.org in spring 2024.
About American Leprosy Missions
American Leprosy Missions is the oldest and largest Christian organization in the United States dedicated to breaking down barriers to health and restoring hope for people suffering from the pain and stigma of neglected tropical diseases like leprosy. It currently supports projects, programs and partners in more than 25 countries in Africa, Asia and South America. Since its founding in 1906, American Leprosy Missions has provided holistic healing to more than four million people around the world, including through medical treatment, health worker training, disease mapping, community development, health system strengthening and research.
For Additional Information
Sarah Hesshaus, Vice President of Business Process and Communications