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Brighton & Sussex Medical School

latest news: Podoconiosis

Podoconiosis news

The Wellcome Trust Brighton and Sussex Centre for Global Health Research acts as an international, multidisciplinary, research hub for podoconiosis. Read our latest news below.


June 2017

Global Health team visit Rwanda

Dr Kebede Deribe and Prof Gail Davey, Wellcome Trust Brighton and Sussex Centre for Global Health Research, travelled to Kigali and the Musanze district, Rwanda, to make preparations for country mapping for instances of podoconiosis with collaborators from the Ministry of Health, Rwaza Health Centre and the Imidido project.

Dr Deribe and Prof Davey were delighted to meet patients and make good progress with the mapping protocol.



April 2017

Podoconiosis at the WHO Neglected Tropical Disease Summit

The World Health Organisation hosted a Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD) Summit from 19-23 April to celebrate progress in the five years since the London Declaration on NTDs. 

BSMS was represented by Prof Gail Davey and Dr Kebede Deribe from the Wellcome Trust Centre for Global Health Research. 

Achievements celebrated include treating 1 billion people in NTD-endemic areas, and massive reductions in sleeping sickness and Guinea worm disease. The Summit included sessions focused on single diseases and others encouraging integrated efforts across diseases. 

Prof Davey spoke on integrated foot care in the 'Skin and limb care in NTDs' session and both Prof Davey and Dr Deribe hosted a session on the 'Global Atlas of Podoconiosis', as recently described in the Lancet Global Health

The session was picked up in an article in The Guardian, and new partners have already come forward to contribute to global mapping efforts as a result.

March 2017

In conversation with Dr Kebede Deribe

Dr Kebede Deribe, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at BSMS, is being funded by a five-year Wellcome Trust Intermediate Fellowship in Public Health and Tropical Medicine to develop the Global Atlas of Podoconiosis. He spoke to Pulse, Brighton and Sussex Medical School's magazine about his research.

Read more >

February 2017

Award for Footwork's podoconiosis video

Footwork is the co-winner of the 2017 Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH) Pulitzer Global Health Video Competition for the video 'Best Foot Forward', developed in partnership with Ripple Effect Images. 

The video depicts depicting the source, treatment and prevention of podoconiosis and to be used as training material for those in affected in endemic areas. 

November 2016

Workshop on Tackling Podoconiosis in Central America 

Dr Mei Trueba and Prof Gail Davey organised and delivered the Workshop ‘Tackling Podoconiosis in Central America: Geographical Distribution and Differential Diagnosis’ in the Universidad del Valle (Guatemala) on 14-15 November 2016.

The aim of this workshop was to: a) raise awareness of the problem of podoconiosis in Central America, b) promote linkages and collaborations for sustainable action and c) open pathways to start podoconiosis prevention and treatment in Guatemala.

The workshop was financed by the International Research Partnerships and Network Fund (Sussex University) as part of an action-research project that aims to assess to what extent podoconiosis is a neglected public health issue in Central America and establish local infrastructures for prevention and management.

Podo News - Tackling Podoconiosis in Central America Workshop

Sixth Meeting of the Footwork Technical Committee

Three members of the BSMS Podoconiosis Research Group attended the Sixth meeting of the Footwork Technical Committee on Saturday 12 November 2016 in Atlanta, GA.

Representatives from endemic countries' Ministries of Health, CDC, the International Foundation for Dermatology, the Schistosomiasis Control Initiative, the Global Alliance for the Elimination of LF, the Malaria Consortium and Helen Keller International were hosted by Wendy Santis, Footwork Director, and Prof Davey, Footwork Founder. Dr Kebede Deribe and Dr Mei Trueba presented research updates, including Dr Trueba’s work on podoconiosis in Guatamala. Exciting advances in Uganda, Cameroon and Ethiopia were described by academics and programme managers from these countries. 

Podo News - Sixth Meeting of the Footwork Technical Committee


August 2016

Project to Explore Scale of Podoconiosis Impact in Central America 

Prof Gail Davey and Dr Mei Trueba, from the Department of Global Health and Infection, signed a three-year collaborative contract in 2016 with the Universidad del Valle (Guatemala), following a successful research bid with the University of Sussex's International Research Partnerships and Network Fund. The project will explore the extent to which podoconiosis is a neglected public health problem in Central America and will support endemic country control through the establishment of sustainable regional collaborations and evidence-based interventions.


June 2016

Impact Award (Public Engagement) 

Prof Gail Davey and Prof Somnath Mukhopadhyay have been recognised at the University of Sussex's Impact and Research Awards 2016. The awards are presented to University of Sussex researchers whose work has had exceptional effects on the outside world. Prof Davey received the Impact Award (Public Engagement) for ‘Podoconiosis research: transforming patients’ lives’. 

April 2016

International podoconiosis initiative awarded $100,000

Footwork, the International Podoconiosis Initiative supported by the Wellcome Trust Brighton and Sussex Centre for Global Health Research, has been awarded $100,000 for the ‘Gondar Podoconiosis Prevention and Treatment Project’.

The Izumi Foundation made the award following presentation of a proposal at their offices in Boston, USA, by Prof Gail Davey and Wendy Santis, Founder and Director of Footwork, respectively.

The project represents a two-year partnership between Footwork, International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC), and the Ethiopian National Podoconiosis Action Network.

Treatment will be provided to 3,000 patients and prevention messages to 15,000 residents of the Gondar area in northern Ethiopia.

Prof Davey, Professor of Global Health Epidemiology said: “We are delighted to attract a new funder to support delivery of prevention and care to people with podoconiosis. The project struck chords with the philosophy and vision of the Izumi Foundation. We’re excited to see this new partnership developing."

Podo News - International podoconiosis initiative awarded $100,000


March 2016

New Animated Video ‘Best Food Forward’

Working in partnership with Ripple Effect Images, the Podoconiosis Research Hub has created a new animated video, ‘Best Foot Forward’, depicting the source, treatment and prevention of podoconiosis and to be used as training material for those in affected in endemic areas. 


Ripple Effect Images are a collective of National Geographic photojournalists who aim to “harness the power of visual storytelling” by documenting schemes that are working to empower women and girls around the world. After hearing about Footwork, the Podoconiosis Initiative founded by BSMS Professor of Global Health Epidemiology, Prof Gail Davey, the two organisations collaborated to create the short animation.


October 2015

Podoconiosis Research Network in Central America

The Wellcome Trust Brighton and Sussex Centre for Global Health Research is developing a network in Central America to study the impact of podoconiosis in Costa Rica and Guatemala. It will also support endemic country control through partnerships with two research institutes in those countries. While members of the Centre have been involved in work on podoconiosis in Ethiopia since 2006, this is the first time work will focus on the Americas. “For such an easily preventable and treatable condition, podoconiosis takes a terrible toll on some of the poorest people in tropical areas around the world,” says Gail Davey, Professor of Global Health Epidemiology at BSMS, who is leading the project. “It’s exciting that we are now able to investigate just how big an impact the disease has on people in Central America, and will be able to adapt what we’ve learned about managing podoconiosis in Africa to this region.”

August 2015

BSMS10 helps tackle neglected tropical disease in Cameroon

In 2015, BSMS’ ten-year anniversary fundraising efforts have helped fund a podoconiosis training workshop in north west Cameroon. Two million Cameroonians (10% of the population) are at risk of podoconiosis and preliminary mapping has shown that around 1% of the population are affected by it. The workshop trained 19 nurses from the Cameroon health ministry and six leaders from a local community development organisation, with sessions ranging from the theoretical to the practical. Participants discussed ways forward in preventing and treating the disease through advocacy efforts, developing a regional committee and local patient support groups, and improving patient education. Patients were also invited along to the workshop to provide hands-on training for participants in screening, disease management and patient education. Trainees learned how to register patients, help them to wash and treat their legs and feet, and carry out bandaging. The workshop was co-funded by the charity Footwork.

Podo News - BSMS10 helps tackle neglected tropical disease in Cameroon