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WHO Releases Global Report on Neglected Tropical Diseases 2024

Context:

In preparation for the 77th session of the World Health Assembly, the World Health Organization (WHO) has published its Global Report on Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) for the year 2024. This report offers an overview of the advancements achieved in 2023 concerning the execution of the Road map for neglected tropical diseases 2021-2030, providing insights into the ongoing efforts to combat these debilitating illnesses on a global scale.

Relevance:

GS II: Health

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Key Highlights of the WHO Report
  2. What are Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD)?

Key Highlights of the WHO Report:

Global Status for 2023:

  • 50 countries have eliminated at least one neglected tropical disease (NTD) as of December 2023, marking halfway progress towards the 2030 target of 100 countries.
  • 5 countries were recognized for eliminating one NTD, and 1 country for eliminating two NTDs.
  • Iraq became the 50th country to eliminate at least one NTD in July 2023, signaling halfway achievement towards the 2030 goal.
  • Noma was added to the list of NTDs in 2023.
  • Bangladesh was validated by WHO in October 2023 for eliminating visceral leishmaniasis as a public health problem.

Global Status for 2022:

  • In 2022, 1.62 billion people needed interventions against NTDs, showing a 26% decrease from 2010, but further efforts are required to achieve the 90% reduction target by 2030.
  • Approximately 848 million people received treatment for at least one NTD through preventive chemotherapy interventions in 2022, 49 million fewer than in 2021 but 50 million more than in 2020.
  • Reported deaths from vector-borne NTDs increased by 22% compared to 2016 by the end of 2022.

India:

  • India was certified free of NTDs like dracunculiasis and yaws.
  • In 2022, India treated about 117 million fewer people for lymphatic filariasis and soil-transmitted helminthiasis compared to 2021.
  • 40.56% of India’s population needed interventions against NTDs in 2022.

Key Challenges:

  • Slow post-COVID-19 recovery, funding uncertainties, geopolitical disruptions, and climate change were highlighted as key challenges.
  • Gaps in knowledge and tools, along with insufficient data, remain significant hurdles in addressing NTDs.

What are Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD)?

  • Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs)– a 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.
  • Seven of the most common NTDs can be found in a number of countries—primarily in low- and middle-income countries of Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
  • Controlling the vectors (e.g., mosquitoes, black flies) that transmit these diseases and improving basic water, sanitation, and hygiene are highly effective strategies against these NTDs.

The NTD Crisis

  • NTDs such as dengue, lymphatic filariasis and visceral leishmaniasis (Kala-Azar) afflict 1 billion people worldwide, and yet, are not prioritised in the public health narrative in many parts of the world.
  • India bears the largest burden of NTDs in the world, accounting for 40 per cent of the global lymphatic filariasis disease burden and almost a quarter of the world’s visceral leishmaniasis cases.

Government’s efforts regarding NTD

  • In recent years, the government has made concerted efforts to address the nation’s NTD burden, especially visceral leishmaniasis and lymphatic filariasis which were slated to be eliminated by 2020 and 2021 respectively.
  • India has already eliminated several other NTDs, including guinea worm, trachoma, and yaws.
  • Measures taken include Mass Drug Administration (MDA) for lymphatic filariasis prevention in endemic districts and Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) to control the breeding of sandflies that transmit visceral leishmaniasis.
  • The Accelerated Plan for Elimination of Lymphatic Filariasis (APELF) was launched in 2018, as part of intensifying efforts towards the elimination of NTDs.
  • A WHO-supported regional alliance established by the governments of India, Bangladesh, and Nepal in 2005 to expedite early diagnosis and treatment of the most vulnerable populations and improve disease surveillance and control of sandfly populations (Kala-azar).

-Source: The Hindu


June 2024
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