RSTMH and NNN announce winners of the Beat NTDs photo contest

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Monday, 24 September 2018

As the Neglected Tropical Disease NGO Network (NNN) Annual Meeting kicks off today in Addis Ababa, we are very excited to pleased to announce the winners of our joint photo competition with NNN on the theme of neglected tropical diseased, called Beat NTDs.

NTDs are treatable and preventable diseases, including rabies, leprosy and trachoma, that affect more than one billion people living in the world’s most impoverished, marginalised and remote communities.

RSTMH and NNN launched the photo contest in May to raise awareness of the devastating impact NTDs can have on people’s lives, but also the positive stories of those on the ground delivering services including treatment and care, working in communities, researching treatments and lobbying governments in their collective efforts to achieve a world free of NTDs.

A picture tells a thousands words

Tanya Wood, Chair of the NNN, says: "There is a saying that a picture tells a thousand words. When you look at the diverse range of images we received this year, it was clear that our community has very powerful stories to tell not only about the devastating impact of these diseases on people's everyday lives, but also about innovation, resilience and the human connection in the fight against NTDs."​

Tamar Ghosh, CEO of RSTMH, says: “I’m delighted to have collaborated with NNN on this initiative. The photo contest has really brought to light all the incredible work being done around the world to combat NTDs. I hope everyone enjoys the quality of the images, as well as gains knowledge and appreciation of how NTDs are impacting people’s lives and what is being done to combat this.”

The winners

The top ten entries, including two joint winners, were announced today and exhibited at the NNN conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia until 26 September.

The first winner is Zikmund Bartonίček, whose image “Shedding” depicts exposing snails to sunlight to provoke trematode – and especially schistosome – cercariae shedding in Barombi Kotto, Cameroon.

© Zikmund Bartonίček The image “Shedding” depicts exposing snails (Bulinus and Indoplanorbis) to sunlight to provoke trematode – and especially schistosome – cercariae shedding in Barombi Kotto, Cameroon. This research will help efforts to tackle NTDs, including schistosomiasis.

On winning, Zikmund, says:

“It is important to raise awareness of NTDs, whether it is the disease itself, work in the field, lab or in hospitals – and photography is one of those methods, that can sometimes be captivating both to the public and the experts, making it an ideal way to tell a story, or to raise an interest.

“I took this picture when I was working on my masters' project at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) in southwest Cameroon. It can be quite tricky to assess the presence of schistosomiasis in the environment, and usually, snails like the ones in the photo are checked for shedding of cercariae of the neglected, yet – in the long term – deadly schistosomiasis.

“As part of my research, I was trying to detect schistosomiasis in the lake using environmental DNA detection and assessing how susceptible the intermediate freshwater snails are to lower doses of molluscicides so that the effect on non-target species are not as devastating and therefore more acceptable by local communities. Ultimately these efforts should allow us to detect and tackle schistosomiasis in the environment more efficiently as part of the integrated approach.”

The second winning image of an Orbis-trained eye care worker comforting a young girl with trachoma in Gamo Gofa, Ethiopia was taken by Geoff Oliver Bugbee.  

© Geoff Oliver Bugbee/Orbis Orbis-trained integrated eye care worker, Tsehay comforts 13-year-old Asegedech, who is suffering from severe trachoma. Gamo Gofa, Ethiopia.

He says: "Working as a socially-concerned photographer for the last 20 years, I couldn't imagine a more compelling opportunity than to be entrusted with my eyes and cameras to further the work of Orbis International, an organisation dedicated to the prevention of avoidable blindness.

“I find it tremendously rewarding to know that the images that I shoot help to broaden awareness and relate real human stories that convey hope in the milieu of a large-scale global health effort.

“Orbis is a one of a kind convergence of eye health and aviation. I'm grateful to be a part of their mission, and I'm truly honoured to accept this award.” 

The RSTMH and NNN photo competition was open to anyone working in the field of tropical medicine and global health across the globe. The winners split the cash prize of £500 and both have the chance to be on the cover of RSTMH’s journal, International Health.

The entries were assessed by a panel of judges, including Simon Bush, Director of neglected tropical diseases at Sightsavers.

Simon says: “I was thoroughly impressed with the range of photos, their unique content and composition. They truly highlight the breadth of work going on to fight NTDs around the world.”

The rest of the top ten

© Sourav Karmakar An NGO worker uses a fogging treatment in a stable to reduce dengue and other mosquito-transmitted diseases in New Delhi, India.

© Thomas Sammut Mapping NTDs and malaria on the Bijagos Archipelago of Guinea Bissau, July 2018, carried out by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

© Elssie Ansareo/Anesvad Close your eyes and let me know if you feel this”. A senior field technician for leprosy in Ghana starts diagnosis through the skin sensation test.

© Kebede Deribe A woman in Rwanda with elephantiasis washes her legs as part of the WHO-recommended morbidity management and disability prevention for podoconiosis and lymphatic filariasis.

© Tom Bradley/The Leprosy Mission Nepal (TLMN) Patients enjoy the winter sun outside TLMN’s Anandaban Hospital Leprosy Ward. Amputated feet highlight delayed diagnosis and the continued need for contact survey, self-care and awareness raising.

© Mohammad Rakibul Hasan A Rohingya mother takes her child to a medical camp. The recent influx of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh has increased the risk factor for NTDs in Bangladesh; especially kala-azar, lymphatic filariasis and dengue.

© Evidence Action School children line up to get their dose of albendazole on National Deworming Day. National Deworming Day is the largest single-day preschool and school-based deworming programme in the world.

© Michelle Stanton Lake Albert, Uganda during a schistosomiasis survey. Snails were sampled in the lake. All 30 children surveyed in the nearby school tested positive for schistosomiasis despite regular treatment with praziquantel.

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