Geneva, April 20: We often hear about ‘Neglected Tropical Diseases’ on various mediums but do we really know what it means and how it might affect us? Well, it’s not hard to understand what it exactly means.
Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are a diverse group of communicable diseases that prevail in tropical and subtropical conditions in 149 countries and affect more than 1 billion people, costing developing economies billions of dollars every year. They mainly affect populations living in poverty, without adequate sanitation and in close contact with infectious vectors and domestic animals and livestock.
Availability of appropriate detection, prevention and control measures are delivered locally. Interestingly, WHO reports remarkable achievements in tackling neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) since 2007.
"WHO has observed record-breaking progress towards bringing ancient scourges like sleeping sickness and elephantiasis to their knees,” said WHO Director-General, Dr Margaret Chan. “Over the past 10 years, millions of people have been rescued from disability and poverty, thanks to one of the most effective global partnerships in modern public health”.
The WHO report, Integrating neglected tropical diseases in global health and development, demonstrates how strong political support, generous donations of medicines, and improvements in living conditions have led to sustained expansion of disease control programmes in countries where these diseases are most prevalent.
Since 2007, when a group of global partners met to agree to tackle NTDs together, a variety of local and international partners have worked alongside ministries of health in endemic countries to deliver quality-assured medicines, and provide people with care and long-term management.
In 2012, partners endorsed a WHO NTD roadmap, committing additional support and resources to eliminating 10 of the most common NTDs.
WHO estimates that 2.4 billion people still lack basic sanitation facilities such as toilets and latrines, while more than 660 million continue to drink water from “unimproved” sources, such as surface water.
Meanwhile, global concern about the recent outbreaks of Zika virus disease, and its associated complications, has re-energized efforts to improve vector control.
Hence, here’s a list of 16 diseases that qualify under NTD:
1. Dengue: Mosquito-borne disease
2. Rabies: Viral disease through dog’s bite
3. Trachoma: Infection through eye contact or nasal discharge
4. Buruli ulcer: Skin infection
5. Yaws: Chronic bacterial infection mainly in the bone and skin
6. Leprosy: Infection in skin, peripheral nerves, eyes or mucus
7. Chagas disease: Infection through insects, contaminated food, transfused blood or lab accidents
8. Leishmaniases: Bites of female sandflies
9. Taeniasis and neurocysticercosis: Infection by adult tapeworm
10. Dracunculiasis (guinea-worm disease): nematode infection transmitted by drinking-water
11. Echinococcosis: infection caused by larval stages of tapeworms
12. Foodborne trematodiases: infection acquired by consuming fish, vegetables
13. Lymphatic filariasis: Infection transmitted by mosquitoes
14. Mycetoma: bacterial or fungal skin infection
15. Onchocerciasis (river blindness): parasitic eye and skin disease, transmitted by the bite of infected blackflies.
16. Schistosomiasis: larval worm infection.
Since 2007, remarkable progress has been made against NTD over the past 10 years. Further gains against neglected tropical diseases will depend on wider progress towards the sustainable development goals.