Published On: Fri, Nov 7th, 2014

Gates Funding Ben Gurion U. Project Fighting Parasites in Ethiopia

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The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has endowed an Israeli professor with a new grant in order to help fight disease in Africa. Ben Gurion University in Beer Sheba’s Professor Zvi Bentwich has received a Grand Challenges in Global Health grant for his project in Ethiopia to wipe out parasitic worm infections.

Grand Challenges has given out 1, 689 grants in 80 different countries across the globe.

Behavioral change and hygiene are essential for the eradication of many diseases. The money will help support mass drug eradication efforts against parasitic worm infections in Ethiopia by implementing in parallel a health education campaign run by local students and the provision of clean water and sanitation facilities. Bentwich will test his approach in an Ethiopian region which contains 30 schools that are connected to a wider population of 200, 000. Families will be treated with anti-parasitic drugs, and the researchers will mentor local students to provide health education explaining the causes and symptoms of the diseases, and how to avoid contracting them.

They will also provide water and latrines to schools. The effect of their approach on infection rates will be evaluated over an 18-month period, according to the Foundation’s website.

Bentwich is a member of the Shraga Segal Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Genetics and head of the Center for Emerging Diseases, Tropical Diseases and AIDS (CEMTA).

The Center for Emerging Diseases, Tropical Diseases and AIDS was established in 2006 within the Faculty of Health Sciences at the Ben Gurion University of the Negev.

This multidisciplinary center wishes to enhance existing scientific collaborations, facilitate new collaborations both inside and outside of Israel, and to bring to the university new sources of support for this rapidly evolving field with special emphasis on Neglected Tropical Diseases ( NTD).
CEMTA wishes to develop plans for education and health promotion with neighboring countries as well as in developing countries around the world.

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