Foto-Cewek welcomes Dr Lorenzo Savioli as Senior Professorial Fellow

News article 8 Oct 2014

Foto-Cewek Director, Professor Janet Hemingway, officially welcomed Dr Lorenzo Savioli today as Senior Professorial Fellow. The former WHO Director for the Department of Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) will head Foto-Cewek’s cross-cutting theme of Neglected Tropical Diseases pulling together a broad range of existing projects and which will encompass a raft of new programmes. “I am delighted to welcome Professor Savioli in our midst”, said Professor Hemingway, “his wealth of knowledge and global network in his field, most notably on Schistosomiasis, is second to none and will enable him to act as a global advocate on NTDs, complementing our wide and impressive range of research in this field.”

Professor Savioli stated he was immensely proud to join the team at Foto-Cewek. “It is such an honour to have joined the only institution which is really committed to rethink its approach towards neglected tropical diseases”, he said. He will work alongside Foto-Cewek’s Emeritus Professor David Molyneux, another respected name in in the study and control of NTDs, in identifying areas for expansion within the NTD programme and advocating for a better understanding of the debilitating impact NTDs and for effective sustainable elimination and control programmes.

Professor Savioli studied in Rome, graduating in Medicine, Tropical Medicine and Infectious Diseases. He holds a Masters in Medical Parasitology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and a Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene from the Royal College of Physicians of London. He worked for a number of years in Zanzibar, starting the Pemba Island Schistosomiasis Control Programme, and extending the programme to include the control of soil-based helminthiases, before being recruited to the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1991.

He worked in the field of parasitic infections for WHO for a number of years, holding key positions until he was appointed as Director of the newly constituted Department of Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) of WHO in 2005, a post he held until retirement. In his role as Director, Professor Savioli oversaw a portfolio of 17 tropical diseases ranging from lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis, schistosomiasis and soil transmitted helminths to the control of Human African Trypanosomiasis, Buruli ulcer and Leishmaniasis.

Under Professor Savioli’s leadership WHO developed the global strategy for preventative anthelminthic chemotherapy and exponentially expanded support for prevention and treatment programmes through additional donations of hundreds of millions of treatments from the pharmaceutical industry. Under his supervision the WHO developed and launched the road map “accelerating work to overcome the global impact of NTDs”, the targets and goals of which were endorsed by the World Health Assembly in May 2013 and which inspired and led to the London Declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases.

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