The World Health Organisation has announced its intervention aimed at tackling Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) which thrive in areas where access to quality health services, clean water and sanitation is scarce.
The 10-year road map proposes ambitious targets and innovative approaches for 20 of such diseases which affect more than a billion people, mostly the poor.
According to a statement by the International Organisation, the project tagged, ‘Ending the neglect to attain the Sustainable Development Goals: a road map for neglected tropical diseases 2021–2030”is geared towards the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals by year 2030.
The plan, WHO says, was endorsed by the World Health Assembly (WHA 73(33)) in November 2020 and will propose concrete actions focused on integrated platforms for delivery of interventions, and thereby improve programme cost-effectiveness and coverage.
The road map targets include the eradication of guinea worm and a 90 per reduction in the need for treatment for NTDs by 2030.
“If we are to end the scourge of neglected tropical diseases, we urgently need to do things differently,” said Tedros Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.
“This means injecting new energy into our efforts and working together in new ways to get prevention and treatment for all these diseases, to everyone who needs it.”
The road map is designed to address critical gaps across multiple diseases by integrating and mainstreaming approaches and actions within national health systems and across sectors.
Lending her voice to this commendable innovation is Mwelecele Ntuli Malecela, Director, WHO Department of Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases.
“At the core, this road aims to put people first. It involves working across sectors in delivering programmes for all the 20 NTDs and promote equity and country ownership.
“To do so, programmes have to be sustainable with measurable outcomes, backed by adequate domestic financing.”
NTDs are diverse group of communicable diseases that prevail in tropical and subtropical conditions in 149 countries – affect more than one billion people and cost developing economies billions of dollars every year.
Populations living in poverty, without adequate sanitation and in close contact with infectious vectors and domestic animals and livestock are those worst affected.