Disease Elimination & Eradication Strategies

Participants and facilitators pose for a photo at the conclusion one the course.

In collaboration with the Global Institute for Disease Elimination (GLIDE), the Global & Environmental Public Health Program developed a course titled, “Disease Elimination and Eradication Strategies for Infectious Diseases in LMICs''. This hybrid course took place from May 23 to June 20 and consisted of online modules on the principles and history of disease elimination and eradication, ethics and human rights, case studies on the prevention and treatment of neglected tropical diseases, integrated approaches to disease elimination and eradication, and an introduction to systems thinking. This was followed by an 8-day intensive live portion on the NYU Abu Dhabi campus which allowed for collaboration among students and practitioners from the field to develop and present a complete proposal for action towards the elimination or eradication of an infectious disease within a specific geographic context.

Disease elimination and eradication are close to the top of the list of the most challenging public health initiatives, especially when resources are limited. Since the 1950s, seven eradication programs have been launched for hookworm, yellow fever, yaws, malaria, smallpox, dracunculiasis, and poliomyelitis. Of these seven human infectious diseases, only one has been successful so far: smallpox was declared to be eradicated by the World Health Assembly in 1980. (Rinderpest was eradicated in cattle and buffalo in 2011.)

Since the era of organized disease elimination began, by far the largest mobilization of resources has been to eradicate Polio. The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) began vaccine delivery and disease surveillance for Polio in 1988 and since that time, more than 2.5 billion children globally have been vaccinated. Until Polio is eradicated, we will continue to see outbreaks of the disease, including the discovery of vaccine-derived poliovirus in the wastewater in London and in upstate NY, which also saw the first case of paralysis resulting from Polio in the US in 10 years. The Polio Eradication campaign has mobilized efforts to eliminate or eradicate other diseases, like Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases  (NTDs) that continue to affect the most vulnerable communities.

The Disease Elimination class described above welcomed 53 participants, including NYU GPH graduate students, disease elimination program managers from Cameroon, Togo, Malawi, South Sudan, Pakistan, Egypt, and other countries, and government and WHO staff from the Eastern Mediterranean and African regions. At the conclusion of the course, 11 teams presented their final strategies to a set of expert judges. The winning team’s  project was “A Pilot Intervention: Reducing Trachoma Prevalence in the NE Region of Uganda.”

The winning team
The winning team pictured left to right: Karina Palacio (NYU), Rebecca Nuwematsiko, Moses Adriko, Fatma Kabole, Ariana Lopez (NYU)

GLIDE and the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office sponsored the program alongside GPH. GLIDE provided funding to cover the hotel, transportation, and most of the meals for GPH students, which allowed students with more limited resources to participate. 

Dr. Chris Dickey and Dr. Moaz Adbelwadoud working with students on their systems map.

This course was co-taught by, Drs. Chris Dickey and Moaz Abdelwadoud with several guest facilitators and content experts, which included, Dr. Erma Manoncourt, Dr. Rana Jawad, Dr. Daniel Boakye, and Dr. John Chimumbwa. GLIDE facilitators included Dr. Lisa Bryde, Senior Technical Advisor, and Diana Yousef, Technical Advisor.

All slides are available to members of our community that are interested in learning more about the strategies developed by the participants in this course. Please send an email to geph-central@nyu.edu to obtain a copy of a project’s slides.