!DOCTYPE html>
All for Joomla All for Webmasters


WHO Reports 'Record-breaking' Progress in Fighting Neglected Tropical Diseases

The World Health Organization said Tuesday that unprecedented progress had been made in tackling many of the world's most disfiguring and disabling neglected tropical diseases over the past 10 years.

Margaret Chan, WHO director-general, said there has been "record-breaking progress towards bringing ancient scourges like sleeping sickness and elephantiasis to their knees."

About 1.5 billion people in 149 countries, down from 1.9 billion in 2010, are affected by neglected tropical diseases (NTD), a group of 18 disorders that disproportionately affect the very poor.

In 2007, the WHO and a group of global partners devised a strategy for better tackling and controlling NTDs.

Five years ago, a group of nongovernmental organizations, private and public partners signed the London Declaration, committing greater support and resources to the elimination or eradication of 10 of the most common NTDs by the end of the decade.

"That has been a game changer in the expansion of NTD interventions worldwide," said Dirk Engel, director of the WHO's Department of Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases.

Meeting on Wednesday

The WHO's fourth report on neglected tropical diseases was launched to coincide with a one-day meeting Wednesday at the agency's headquarters to take stock of what has been achieved in the fight against NTDs and to explore ways to move the process forward.

Engel said health ministers, representatives from pharmaceutical companies, academics, donors and philanthropists "will look at the changing landscape of NTDs" and explore better ways of integrating the fight against these diseases into global health and development.

The report described achievements made in controlling the debilitating diseases. For example, it noted that an estimated 1 billion people received 1.5 billion treatments donated by pharmaceutical companies for one or more NTDs in 2015 alone.

It cited dramatic successes in efforts to eliminate visceral leishmaniasis, a parasitic, disfiguring disease that attacks the internal organs.

"If you get it, it kills. There is no way out," said Engel.

The disease is prevalent in Southeast Asia, particularly in Bangladesh, India and Nepal. Engel said a subregional program was organized to provide early treatment with donated medicines and vector control through indoor residual spraying, similar to that used in malaria control.

"With those two interventions, you reduce the incidence of visceral leishmaniasis almost to nothing," said Engel. "And the aim was to have less than one case in 10,000 people at the subdistrict level, which is a tough target."

He noted that the disease had been eliminated in 82 percent of subdistricts in India, 97 percent of subdistricts in Bangladesh, and eliminated entirely in Nepal.

"This is a result that we had not anticipated a few years back," he said.


While Asia is burdened with the greatest number of NTD cases, Africa has the highest concentration of the diseases. Engel told VOA that between 450,000 and 500,000 people in sub-Saharan Africa were infected by at least one tropical disease — but usually several — at the same time.

He said Africa was making excellent progress in controlling neglected tropical diseases. African sleeping sickness has been reduced from 37,000 new cases in 1999 to fewer than 3,000 cases in 2015, and Guinea worm disease has gone down "to only 25 human cases, putting eradication within reach," he said.

Engel noted that lymphatic filariasis, an infection transmitted by mosquitoes, causing enlargement of limbs and genitals, also was being brought under control.

"Some countries are lagging a bit behind. Some countries are actually doing fairly well," he said. "We have just acknowledged the first African country that has eliminated lymphatic filariasis as a public health problem — Togo."

He noted that so much progress has been made in the treatment of onchocerciasis, or river blindness, that "we are now thinking of setting a new target of elimination post-2020."

In another important advance, the report found that trachoma, the world's leading infectious cause of blindness, "has been eliminated as a public health problem" in Oman, Morocco and Mexico.

Affected areas

Neglected tropical diseases used to be prevalent throughout the world. Now, they are found only in tropical and subtropical regions with unsafe water, bad hygiene and sanitation, and poor housing conditions.

"Poor people living in remote, rural areas, urban slums or conflict zones are most at risk," said the report.

The World Health Organization said improving water and sanitation for 2.4 billion people globally who lack these basic facilities was key to making further progress in the fight against neglected tropical diseases.

Christopher Fitzpatrick, health economist in the WHO's department of tropical diseases, told VOA that the socioeconomic costs in terms of lost productivity and out-of-pocket health expenditures by people infected with NTDs is very high.

"It has been calculated that for every dollar invested [in improving water and sanitation infrastructure], there will be about $30 of return to affected individuals," he said.




Concord Newsdesk

A plea from Cameroon Concord........

Thank you for reading our magazine, we have a plea to ask you our readers. Over the last two years, hits on our articles have been climbing, we have had an increase in clicks and also a broader reading audience on our social media channels.Our readers have been writing to us requestion for news updates from Cameroon/Southern Cameroons. We have as well been trying to give you the best we can, however, we are short of finances to recruit reporters to carry on independent and investigative journalism which takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. We are therefore pleading on you to support our efforts for this platform to be able to keep up the good work we are doing.

For as little as €1, you can support Cameroon Concord– and it only takes a minute. Thank you.


Website: www.cameroon-concord.com Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Share your views on this article

Headlines On Cameroonian English Tabloids

Modern Villa For Sale in Yaounde Cameroon

Cameroon Concord  is an online publication covering and reporting on  local and world news, sports, entertainment, politics, business, and religious news. Serving Cameroonians .



Get the latest news and information delivered directly to your inbox by subscribing to our news alerts.



Right Click

No right click

We use cookies to improve our website. By continuing to use this website, you are giving consent to cookies being used. More details…