Letter from the Director: December 2011

Wed, 2011-12-14 12:41 -- Eric Strunz

Kim Koporc, Director of Program Implementation, Children Without WormsIn this edition of the Quarterly Dose, I am pleased to welcome our new Director, Dr. David Addiss. We also have new leadership of the former Mebendazole Advisory Committee (MAC), which is now the STH Advisory Committee. Plus, we welcome several of our new recipient countries. And finally, we include recommendations from the recent NGDO NTD Network meeting on how non-governmental development organizations (NGDOs) and Ministries of Health and Education can collaborate effectively for NTD control.

It is with great excitement that I share some of the recent changes for Children Without Worms (CWW)—from new leadership of CWW and our advisory committee to new recipient countries and expanded donations for existing recipient countries.

First and foremost, I want to welcome our new Director, David Addiss, MD, MPH. Dr. Addiss brings a wealth of experience in control of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) as well as a personal interest in the need for compassion in public health. As Dr. Addiss assumes this leadership role, I move into a new role as Director of Program Implementation. I am pleased to once again have the opportunity to work directly with our recipient country partners and spend more time on advocacy for soil-transmitted helminthiasis (STH) control.

I also want to announce our 10 new recipient countries. Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Uzbekistan and Yemen are new recipients of mebendazole donated by Johnson & Johnson. Guinea, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, and Togo are new recipients of albendazole donated by GlaxoSmithKline. Over the past year, we have worked with the STH program managers of these countries to develop applications for the donations. Each of our new countries all completed a detailed master plan for integrated NTD control. These plans outline how the applicant will bring together programs and resources to reduce morbidity from NTDs and are required by the World Health Organization (WHO) as part of the qualification and application process. We look forward to working with these countries as they begin implementing their MDAs.

In mid-October, we convened the 7th meeting of the STH Advisory Committee (formerly the Mebendazole Advisory Committee) in Geneva. We, along with our partners pledged to increase coordination of efforts and promote collaboration toward several important goals. Among these goals are to increase the capacity of STH-endemic countries to effectively utilize drug donations. Another is to implement comprehensive STH control strategies that include both treatment and prevention activities such as increasing access to water and sanitation facilities and promoting behaviors that prevent infection.

Also at the meeting, Chairperson Mr. Ibrahim Jabr passed committee leadership to Dr. Susan Zimicki. Ibrahim Jabr has been a committee member since the inception of CWW, and has served as Chairperson since 2009. On behalf of our organization, I want to thank him for guiding us to this point of tremendous opportunity and expansion. I also want to welcome Dr. Susan Zimicki, who has an accomplished background in international health, behavior change and strategic development, and high-level monitoring and evaluation. We are excited to have her leadership as we enter this new phase. 

In this edition, we’ve included articles that highlight these exciting changes for CWW. We introduce Dr. Addiss, our new Director, and Cassandra Holloway, our new Program Coordinator. We also introduce the program manager of one of the new countries, Dr. Obiageli Nebe of Nigeria.

In our final article, we present recommendations on how non-governmental development organizations (NGDOs) and Ministries of Health and Education can work together more effectively for STH and schistosomiasis control. The recommendations came from a panel discussion at the recent NGDO NTD Network meeting in Nairobi.

It is with pleasure that I place leadership of CWW in the capable hands of Dr. Addiss. I look forward to continued collaboration with all of you to reach our vision of the world’s children free of intestinal parasites so they can grow, play, learn and enrich their communities.


Kim Koporc
Director of Program Implementation
Children Without Worms