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Tuesday, January 25th, 2022

WHO delegates approve roadmap for neglected tropical diseases

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Delegates at the World Health Organization’s virtual World Health Assembly approved a new road map for neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) for 2021−2030.

The road map sets out global targets and actions to align the work of countries, partners, and stakeholders during the next decade.

“We now have the consensus and the commitment of every country to work in an integrated, cross-cutting manner in tackling all the neglected tropical diseases,” said Dr. Ren Minghui, WHO assistant director-general for universal health coverage, communicable and noncommunicable diseases. “To do so effectively, and as drivers and beneficiaries, countries must change towards greater ownership of programs. Smarter investments and high-level political commitment are required to reduce the social impact and economic consequences imposed by these diseases.”

The road map encourages a fundamental shift in approach from vertical disease programs to cross-cutting approaches based on the needs of patients and communities.

“The new road map addresses critical gaps across multiple diseases, integrates and mainstreams approaches within national health systems and coordinates action across sectors,” Dr. Mwelecele Ntuli Malecela, director of the WHO Department of Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases, said. “It also provides us with opportunities to evaluate, assess, and adjust programmatic actions as needed over the next decade.”

The road map seeks to prevent, control, eliminate, and eradicate 20 neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) and disease groups. Specifically, the goals are to reduce by 90 people the number of people requiring treatment for NTDs, eliminate at least one NTD in 100 countries, eradicate two diseases (dracunculiasis and yaws), and reduce by 75 percent the disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) related to NTDs.

This new road map replaces the last one, published in 2012.