PhD defence Gemechu Tadesse Leta (Faculty of Veterinary Medicine)



Designing and monitoring large-scale deworming programs for soil-transmitted helminthiasis and schistosomiasis in Ethiopia


PhD candidate: Leta, Gemechu Tadesse


Gemechu Tadesse Leta was born on 11th of September 1981, in Western Oromia (Wollega, Ethiopia). In 2002, Gemechu obtained his Diploma in Medical Laboratory from Addis Ababa University. After two years of service at the Ethiopian Public Health Institute, Gemechu continued his education at the same university, and obtained a BSc degree in Medical Laboratory Technology in 2007, and MSc degree in Medical Parasitology in 2012 from Jimma University. Gemechu has been involved in many research projects that focused on parasitic worm diseases including but not limited to soil-transmitted helminthiasis, schistosomiasis, lymphatic filariasis and onchocerciasis. Since 2013, Gemechu has been coordinating the mapping, monitoring and evaluation of the national deworming program against soil-transmitted helminthiasis and schistosomiasis. In 2016, he started a PhD at Ghent University with the ultimate aim to improve designing and monitoring large-scale deworming programs in Ethiopia. He embedded his work in ongoing activities that were supported by both Ethiopian Public Health Institute and the Federal Ministry of Health, and that were funded by multiple international partners. Gemechu has (co-) authored more than 20 peer reviewed papers.


Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Bruno Levecke, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University - Prof. Dr. Michael French, RTI International, Washington DC, United States of America


Short description

Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are a diverse group of bacterial, parasitic and viral communicable diseases. They are widespread in tropical and subtropical countries where poverty, inadequate sanitation and hygiene are common. A group of these NTDs can be controlled by either innovation or intensified disease management at the level of the individual patient, or through interventions targeting most at-risk populations. Some of the amenable diseases that are targeted at the population level include the soil-transmitted helminthiasis (STH; caused by Ascaris lumbricoides, Trichuris trichiura and the hookworms (Nectator americanus and Ancylostoma duodenale) and schistosomiasis (SCH; caused by Schistsoma mansoni and Schistsoma haematobium). Due to nature of the biology, both diseases affect the same at-risk population, namely children and women of child bearing age. Although historical data highlight that both diseases are prevalent in Ethiopia, a nationwide control program has insufficiently matured.



Date: Tuesday 21 March 2023, 17:30

Location: Diergeneeskunde AUD D, Salisburylaan 133, 9820 Merelbeke


If you would like to attend, please register by sending an e-mail to by Sunday 15th of March. The defense can also be followed online via Microsoft Teams. The link will be shared with registered individuals