The stunting puzzle: what role do helminths play?

Despite considerable global efforts over the past 20 years, childhood stunting levels globally remain unacceptably high. In 2021, worldwide, 149.2 million children under five years of age were stunted. The causes of stunting are complex and still largely unknown.

Helminths are parasitic worms that are a leading cause of morbidity globally, particularly within low- and middle-income countries, and are frequently associated with both physical and nutritional impairment in young children.

However, their actual role in childhood stunting remains unclear. 

In this webinar, Dr Montresor from the WHO gave a keynote speech on helminths and health, and members of the Hub team presented their recently published systematic review, and ongoing work, which explores the current evidence around the direct and indirect role of helminths in child stunting.


Thursday 16 June 2022, 12 – 1 pm.


The speakers

Chair: Prof Joanne Webster

Prof Webster is the Lead of the Parasitology workstream of the Hub.  She is the Chair of Parasitic Diseases at the Royal Veterinary College, U. of London and has been elected as a Fellow of The Academy of Medical Sciences (FMedSci) for her exceptional contributions to the advancement of biomedical and health research, combining fundamental research with direct disease control activities across both humans and animals.

Twitter: @JoWebster_Group




Dr Antonio Montresor

Dr Antonio Montresor is the focal point for intestinal parasites in the Department of Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases of the World Health Organization. Dr Montresor obtained a degree in Medicine and Surgery at the University of Milan 1987, specialization in Medical Statistic and Epidemiology in 2006, and in 1997 and in 2008 the Master of Science in Infectious Diseases, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Between 1988 and 1990 he has been employed as a volunteer as Head of Public Health Department, Mpwapwa District Hospital (Tanzania) and he has been recruited by WHO in the department of Communicable Diseases in Geneva in 1994.

He has been assigned in 2004 as Public Health Specialist in the WHO country offices in Vietnam. In 2009 returned to Geneva in the NTD Department. Dr Montresor is the author of more than 160 scientific papers, a series of  WHO guidelines that are translated into 6 languages and has been a lecturer on Neglected Tropical Diseases in more than 10 master’s courses in European and American universities.


Eleanor Raj

Eleanor is a veterinary surgeon with a master’s in One Health. She is interested in human-animal-ecosystem interactions, especially in the context of neglected tropical diseases (NTD’s), zoonoses, food systems and antimicrobial resistance (AMR). She is an advocate for multidisciplinary teams, evidence-based policies and holistic approaches to health. She currently combines research, consultancy and clinical work.






Isobel Gabain

Isobel is a Bloomsbury funded PhD student at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) department of Pathobiology and Population Sciences, with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) acting as a partner institution. She is supervised by Professor Joanne Webster, Dr Barbara Haesler and Dr James Rudge.  Isobel holds a strong interest in inter- and multi-disciplinary One Health research, particularly in the context of controlling soil-transmitted helminths and schistosomiasis. Her PhD research focuses on the question: Do infections (helminthic parasites or food-borne pathogens) cause childhood stunting? Her research will assist in elucidating the synergies, interactions, relative strengths, and directionality between specific key proposed drivers of stunting, with a focus on the parasites and pathogens of mother and infant, and their direct and indirect impact on health. Isobel holds an MSc in One Health, a programme delivered jointly by the RVC and the LSHTM, and a BSc (Hons) in Biochemistry from the University of Bristol. Twitter: @IsobelGabain



Other speakers will be announced soon! 

Event details

When: 16 June, 2022 - 12:00 pm

Where: Online