No better time to take on typhoid

For many people, the summer is a time to slow down a bit, rest and relax, and perhaps take a long-awaited vacation. We often hear of “summer reading lists” and places to go to be away from the daily routine.  For me, my summer travels were more exciting than relaxing!  As part of my role as Project Director for the Typhoid Vaccine Acceleration Consortium (TyVAC), I traveled to Burkina Faso, Madagascar, and Malawi, meeting with government leaders and health partners to discuss typhoid disease burden and solutions. Back in Baltimore, I worked with the TyVAC team to review protocols for typhoid conjugate vaccine studies in three countries and to brainstorm ways to make typhoid conjugate vaccines more readily accessible where they are needed most. Overall, I spent a lot of time strategizing about how to create a future where we are able to better prevent and control typhoid.

Nearly 12 million people today—mostly children ages 2 to 15 years old—will get typhoid. More than 128,000 will die, and many of the survivors will suffer long-term consequences, undermining their schooling and their family’s economic security. However, we can change course. This is a global situation that we have the power and know-how to change. We know that improved access to clean water, adequate sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) can reduce typhoid transmission. And we know a new typhoid conjugate vaccine more suitable for childhood routine immunization programs is on the horizon.

Now is the time for all of us—scientists, researchers, doctors, health workers, program managers, government leaders—and anyone passionate about healthy, thriving children, to pick up the banner to take on typhoid. I am thrilled that the TyVAC project has joined forced with the Coalition against Typhoid to launch Take on Typhoid, a focused effort to prioritize attention on typhoid, and the need for typhoid conjugate vaccines and WASH interventions to reduce the burden and impact of the disease. Together—with you—we are working to raise awareness and urgency of the need for an integrated approach to typhoid prevention, and to ensure that typhoid conjugate vaccines are considered as part of an integrated solution for disease control.

We hope that you will find the resources to answer your questions, to equip you with the latest data and evidence, and to inspire you to advocate for stronger WASH and typhoid conjugate vaccine programs. The Take on Typhoid website has advocacy tools, data, and relevant information to ensure that our partners are well informed, empowered, and ready to fight for global, regional, and national prioritization of integrated typhoid control solutions.

You will also see us newly active on Facebook and Twitter, so please join the conversation and take action in the fight against typhoid. (May I also suggest you sign up for the Take on Typhoid newsletter?)

Throughout all of the activities of this summer, there was one constant: the TyVAC team is passionate about preventing and controlling typhoid. We welcome you to the cause, and we encourage you to be in touch. Use our resources, ask for more, and engage with your colleagues, partner organizations, and key decision-makers to prioritize the fight against typhoid.

Together, we can take on typhoid.


Photo: PATH/Rocky Prajapati

Kathleen Neuzil is the Project Director of the Typhoid Vaccine Acceleration Consortium (TyVAC) and the Director of the Center for Vaccine Development at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.