BGU Prof. Receives Gates Foundation Grant
November 10, 2014
BEER-SHEVA, ISRAEL, November 10, 2014 – BGU Professor Zvi Bentwich has received a Grand Challenges in Global Health Grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for his project in Ethiopia to wipe out parasitic worm infections.
The funding will help support mass drug eradication efforts against these infections by implementing in parallel a health education campaign run by local students with the provision of clean water and sanitation facilities. Behavioral change and hygiene are essential for the eradication of many diseases.
Prof. Bentwich is a member of BGU’s Shraga Segal Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Genetics and heads the Center for Emerging Diseases, Tropical Diseases and AIDS (CEMTA). His groundbreaking research in the 1990s uncovered a strong link between intestinal worms and immune system deficiencies, and he has been working to eradicate worms in Ethiopia ever since.
Prof. Bentwich will test his approach in an Ethiopian region with 30 schools, connected to a wider population of 200,000 people. Families will be treated with anti-parasitic drugs. Local students will be trained to provide health education, explaining the causes and symptoms of diseases, and how to avoid contracting them. The grant will also make it possible for the research team to provide water and latrines to schools. The effect of their approach on infection rates will be evaluated over an 18-month period.
The Center for Emerging Diseases, Tropical Diseases and AIDS was established in 2006 within the Faculty of Health Sciences at the BGU. This multidisciplinary center works to enhance existing scientific collaborations and facilitate new collaborations both inside and outside of Israel.
“We applaud Prof. Bentwich who has dedicated his career to solving the problems of Neglected Tropical Diseases,” says Doron Krakow, AABGU executive vice president. “It is immensely gratifying to see that a prestigious grant organization such as The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation recognizes the groundbreaking work our faculty is passionate about to bring hope to all corners of the world.”
Grand Challenges has given out 1,689 grants in 80 different countries across the globe.
About American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (AABGU) plays a vital role in sustaining David Ben-Gurion’s vision: creating a world-class institution of education and research in the Israeli desert, nurturing the Negev community and sharing the University’s expertise locally and around the globe. Activities include showcasing BGU’s academic excellence and cutting-edge research through educational programs, events and informative communications. AABGU’s main purpose is to support Ben-Gurion’s vision and the university that bears his name by creating a community of Americans committed to improving the world tomorrow from the heart of the Israeli desert today.
A. Lavin Communications