June 12, 2021

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WHO presents plan to end neglected tropical diseases in 10 years

Photo: WHO

Combating 20 neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) is the new challenge set by the World Health Organization (WHO) by launching a new roadmap with ambitious goals and innovative approaches that seek to eradicate these diseases that affect more than 1 billion people, most of whom live in poverty.

Among the objectives of the Roadmap for Neglected Tropical Diseases 2021-2030, whose motto is End neglect to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, they include eradicating guinea worm and yaws and reducing NTD treatment needs by 90% by 2030.

Likewise, it is intended to speed up the programmatic measures and give them a new impetus by proposing concrete actions through integrated service delivery platforms that allow increasing the profitability and coverage of the programs.

An extensive process of consultations with countries, partners, stakeholders, and the scientific and academic community was carried out to draft the roadmap. Thanks to this, the programmatic measures it contemplates can be evaluated, reviewed and adjusted over the next decade to establish intermediate goals and clear objectives.

In addition, it is intended to empower national and local authorities, including communities, to take more responsibility when implementing the measures. The general objectives set between now and 2030 are the following:

  • reduce by 90% the number of people requiring NTD treatments;
  • ensure that 100 countries have eliminated at least one NTD;
  • eradicate at least two of these diseases; Y
  • reduce disability-adjusted life years in relation to NTDs by 75%.

Likewise, 10 transversal goals and specific objectives will be monitored for each NTD, such as reducing the number of deaths from vector-borne diseases by more than 75% (such as dengue and leishmaniasis, among others), promoting the universal access to basic water, sanitation and hygiene services in areas where NTDs are endemic and improve the collection and transmission of sex-disaggregated data on these diseases.

Significant advances have been made in the past decade that have made it possible for 600 million people to no longer be at risk of NTDs and 42 countries, territories and areas have eliminated at least one of these diseases.

However, there are persistent problems that need to be addressed, such as climate change, conflict, new zoonoses and threats from the environment, unequal access to health services, and inadequate housing and sanitation services. and drinking water.

NTDs affect more than 1 billion people around the world, who suffer their consequences in the form of pain and disability. These are conditions that have lasting health, social and economic repercussions on people and societies.

Similarly, NTDs prevent many children from going to school and adults from going to work, and they push communities into cycles of poverty and inequity.

Often, people affected by the disability and dysfunction caused by these diseases are stigmatized in their own communities, have difficulty accessing health care and suffer from social isolation.

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