The Mectizan Donation Program joins 10GA as Programme Partner

Treatment is brought to every home in the village. ZANZIBAR © Centre for Neglected Tropical Disease

The Mectizan Donation Program joins IAPB’s 10th General Assembly, the premier global event discussing public health issues related to blindness and visual impairment, as a ‘Programme Partner’.
The Mectizan Donation Program (MDP) will be presenting a course on onchocerciasis as part of the 10GA Scientific Programme. Onchocerciasis, commonly known as river blindness, is caused by infection with the filarial parasite Onchocerca volvulus, which is transmitted by the bites of a black fly. The vast majority of the estimated 37 million infected people live in West, Central and East Africa, with smaller foci in Latin America and Yemen. River blindness is one of the leading causes of preventable blindness worldwide. Mectizan—the only known drug well-tolerated by humans–relieves the agonizing itching that accompanies the disease and halts progression toward blindness.

Merck’s* Mectizan Donation Program is the longest-running, disease-specific, drug donation programme and public/private partnership of its kind. It was started to provide medical, technical and administrative oversight of the donation of Mectizan, after Merck* announced in 1987 that it would be donated to all who needed it, for as long as needed.

For the session on onchocerciasis, the Mectizan Donation Program and IAPB will work together to bring specialist speakers to present the latest research on the elimination of onchocerciasis worldwide.

“Ivermectin’s (Mectizan) impact on the world is not difficult to fathom. A billion treatments have been administered so far, and its discovery garnered a Nobel Prize in 2015” noted Dr Adrian Hopkins, Mectizan Donation Program. “The Program is proof that we can eliminate the disease, with political support and international collaboration”.

10GA’s theme is “Stronger Together”. In 2016, IAPB will be showcasing one of the eye health sector’s remarkable success stories – our longstanding cross-sectoral partnerships. “We are delighted that the Mectizan Donation Program is one of our Programme Partners”, said Joanna Conlon, Director of Development, IAPB. “The Program is at the forefront of global efforts to eliminate an avoidable cause of blindness that effects the poorest. This Assembly is an opportunity to celebrate its success and focus on the end-game”.

About Mectizan Donation Program

Established 29 years ago, the Mectizan Donation Program (MDP) is the longest-running, disease-specific, drug donation program and public/private partnership of its kind. Currently, MDP approves an average of 140 million treatments for onchocerciasis and lymphatic filariasis annually.

For more information, please visit:

*Merck is known as MSD outside the U.S. and Canada

Image courtesy: Centre for Neglected Tropical Disease


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How to eat an Elephant (and other stories)

We are very excited to showcase the updated 10GA Programme on the website. We believe the programme reflects the diversity of approaches and interests of the IAPB membership (indeed, the eye care sector). As course conveners invite speakers for their courses, key speakers agree to come on board and sessions take shape on paper, we can see the programme fill out.

Some of the sessions and symposia give you an idea on what to expect (“Better Health for Africa: The critical shortage of health workers” or “Integrating eye care into school programmes”), while some are tantalising (How to eat an elephant”)! In all, the key public health themes of the eye care community find voice through the myriad sessions and presentations on the programme.

But the most interesting aspect of all, are the hundreds of free paper and poster presentations that are submitted over the next couple of weeks. What form and shape will they take? What areas of interest and new ideas will find space? With only two months to go for the abstract submission deadline, we wait with a mix of anticipation and quiet excitement.


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Group Registrations

Eye care organisations are eligible for group registration benefits and other options, including block-booking and online registration of delegates. Group registrations save time and also ensure that your delegates are booked at the Early-bird rate–you can identify the actual staff at a later date!

Group registrations also give you the flexibility to change your delegate names till closer to the meeting dates. 10GA offers many opportunities for a variety of eye health professionals, both in terms of professional advancement and networking opportunities. As members, your staff and partners will be able to greatly benefit from the 10GA opportunity.

Group registration also helps delegates benefit from special rates kindly provided by the IAPB 10GA Airline Partners: Emirates and South African Airways. Discounts ranging from 5% – 18% are available for flights to Durban.

If you are interested in group registration information, please write immediately to Eva Natcheva, from MYT, the 10GA Event Organiser.


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