Africa: WHO to tackle 20 neglected tropical diseases

Delegates attending the virtual session of the 73rd World Health Assembly (12 November) have endorsed a new road map that sets specific targets to tackle 20 neglected tropical diseases [NTDs] by 2030 through focused interventions.

NTDs, the road map said, “are a diverse set of 20 diseases and disease groups [e.g. lymphatic filariasis, trachoma, human African trypanosomiasis, leprosy, and so on with a singular commonality: their impact on impoverished communities. Together they affect more than a billion people with devastating health, social and economic consequences”.

The targets in the new road map (2021 – 2030) include: decrease in the number of people needing treatment for NTDs by 90 per cent, elimination of at least one NTD in 100 countries, eradication of two NTDs, i.e. dracunculiasis and yaws, and decrease in the NTD-related disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) by 75 per cent.

“Countries are both the drivers and the beneficiaries of progress towards the 2030 targets for NTDs. National and local governments must therefore lead work to define agendas and realise their objectives, financed partly or fully through domestic funds,” the road map said. “Countries must integrate and prioritise prevention and control of endemic NTDs in national health plans and dedicate a corresponding line item in national health budgets.” Read more…

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