From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
World Health Organisation (WHO) has launched a 10-year road map designed to eradicate Guinea worm, yaw, rabies, snake bikes, elephantiasis and several other Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) among poor people across the world, especially in Africa.
WHO said that NTDs affect over one billion people globally, mostly poor communities causing pains and disabilities, creating lasting health, social and economic consequences for individuals and societies. They prevent children from going to school and adults from going to work, trapping communities in cycles of poverty and inequity.
WHO was concerned that people affected by disabilities and impairments caused by NTDs often experience stigma within their communities, hindering their access to needed care and leading to social isolation.
WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, in a statement, yesterday, said the road map for NTDs 2021–2030, would accelerate programmatic action and renew momentum by proposing concrete actions focused on integrated platforms for delivery of interventions, and thereby improve programme cost effectiveness and coverage.
He confirmed that the document which was endorsed by the World Health Assembly (WHA 73(33)) in November 2020, would assist the global community in salvaging and renewing hope of the people affected by the disease.
Director, WHO Department of Control of NTDs, Dr. Mwelecele Ntuli Malecela, explained that the 10-year road map was designed to address critical gaps across multiple diseases by integrating and mainstreaming approaches and actions within national health systems, and across sectors.
“The road map will track 10 cross-cutting targets and disease specific targets that include a reduction by more than 75 per cent in the number of deaths from vector-borne NTDs such as dengue, leishmaniasis and others, promote full access to basic water supply, sanitation and hygiene in areas endemic for NTDs and achieve greater improvement in collecting and reporting NTD data disaggregated by gender,” Malecela said.