World Health Organization says big gains on tropical diseases

Jane Richards
April 19, 2017

The increased investment will protect over 200 million people from the pain and disfigurement caused by treatable tropical diseases, said global development secretary Priti Patel.

They are all infectious diseases that occur in tropical and subtropical conditions in 149 countries of the world.

Tropical diseases are often described as "neglected" as they have a low profile despite their capacity to deform, disable, blind and even kill people.

Patel said Saturday: "These diseases have been named "neglected" for a reason but I'm not prepared for them to be neglected any longer".

A new report from the World Health Organization (WHO) hailed what it calls "remarkable achievements in tackling neglected tropical diseases (NTDs)" over the past decade, according to a press statement released on Tuesday. This will mean a billion treatments for people at risk in the developing world as part of an worldwide push to eliminate and eradicate these ailments for good.

"They cause unimaginable suffering and pain to some of the world's poorest people". Nevertheless, researchers' work is harder to be developed in South Sudan. World Health Organization estimates that 2.4 billion people still lack basic sanitation facilities like toilets and latrines, while almost two billion use drinking water sources contaminated with faecal matter.

The support package aims to help wipe out Guinea worm, which is transmitted through dirty water and eliminate visceral leishmaniasis in Asia, a parasitic disease caused by infected sand-flies which destroy the internal organs.

One illness that was close to being fully eradicated is the Guinea worm, which had 25 cases in 2016, although Gates said the unrest in Sudan is making the work more hard.

The funding will pay for treatments such as mass drug administration programmes - where drugs are given to a particular population where a disease is endemic - and surgery.

Dr Caroline Harper, chief executive of Sightsavers, an worldwide charity that fights preventable blindness, said the investment would have a dramatic impact around the world.

However, the agency warns that further success will depend on whether more people have access to clean water and sanitation.

"Good progress, some of these diseases are on track to be done (eliminated) by 2020, some by 2025", said Gates. "The scale of the suffering of the poorest people that will be avoided as a result of the delivery implementation treatments is vast".

"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", says WHO director general Margaret Chan.

"The UK's support will protect over 200 million people from a future blighted by tropical disease and represents a huge leap towards ending this scourge".

"With our foundation, I am proud to partner with the United Kingdom on global health and look forward to sharing more specifics about how we will further our commitment in the fight against neglected tropical diseases this week at the summit in Geneva".

Other reports by VgToday

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