The Australian Centre for the Control and Elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases (ACE-NTDs) aims to accelerate the control and ultimately elimination of key neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) in priority countries of the Asia-Pacific region. We target the endemic NTDs for which large-scale preventive chemotherapy (PC), the treatment of all members of a population without prior individual diagnosis, is a central component of control strategies. As the first Australia-led collaboration in the control of these diseases, ACE-NTDs will generates a dynamic research enterprise for our region.
Why are NTDs important?
The diseases that are the focus of our CRE affect millions of people worldwide at the lowest income levels, particularly in rural and remote areas with minimal access to servicesent. They cause chronic morbidity and disability, collectively generating a burden of ill health comparable to that of malaria. The World Health Organization (WHO) has set ambitious control targets for important NTDs that can be controlled by PC-related strategies, but at least 9 of these diseases remain endemic among the most health-disadvantaged people in our region, including Australia’s remote communities. They are: the eye disease trachoma; the soil-transmitted helminths ascariasis, trichuriasis, hookworms and strongyloides; the skin-related infections scabies and yaws; lymphatic filariasis; and schistosomiasis.
What will ACE-NTDs do?
As the world increasingly recognises the injustice and health burden of these ancient diseases, unprecedented global coalitions have formed to work toward their control. These efforts will only succeed if they are supported by improvements in the population health evidence base, to better understand where the diseases are occurring, and the most acceptable, cost-effective ways to achieve control and elimination across diverse settings. ACE-NTDs coordinates and amplifies Australian population health research efforts to fill evidence gaps for our region, by bringing together our leading national research groups and international counterparts. We harness strengths across disciplines, countries and diseases to identify synergies in disease control, discover and deliver new and more effective interventions and build critical mass for our endeavours. The primary beneficiaries of our work should be the people most affected by NTDs.
- To harness Australian expertise in NTDs population health research into a coordinated and collaborative endeavor with a strong regional focus.
- To work towards elimination for key NTDs in our region by discovering better ways to track disease occurrence and deliver effective interventions.
- To build a strong and sustainable research workforce with close and ongoing links to policy makers and program implementers.
Our core funding is from the NHMRC (National Health and Medical Research Council – Australian Government) under a CRE Award (Centre for Research Excellence).
Annual Scientific Meeting, May 2022, Sydney, Australia