By Princess-Ekwi Ajide Abuja
Reports say about 1.65 billion people around the globe require treatment for at least one Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD).
THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION (WHO), GAVE THE ESTIMATE IN A NEW PROGRESS REPORT, TITLED, “GLOBAL REPORT ON NEGLECTED TROPICAL DISEASES 2023,” HIGHLIGHTING THE PROGRESS AND CHALLENGES IN DELIVERING NTD CARE WORLDWIDE, ESPECIALLY WITH COVID-19-RELATED DISRUPTIONS
The report showed that NTDs have continued to disproportionately affect the poorest members of the global community, in areas of water safety, sanitation and access to health care.
ACCORDING TO THE REPORT, ALTHOUGH AS MANY AS 179 COUNTRIES AND TERRITORIES REPORTED AT LEAST ONE CASE OF NTDS IN 2021, 16 COUNTRIES ACCOUNTED FOR 80 PER CENT OF THE GLOBAL NTD BURDEN.
The new progress report further showed that the number of people requiring NTDs interventions fell by 80 million between 2020 and 2021, and that eight countries were certified or validated as having eliminated one NTD in 2022 alone.
The report, however, stated that although more countries have eliminated NTDs, there is need for investments to sustain the progress, adding that as at December 2022, 47 countries had eliminated at least one NTD and more countries were in the process of achieving the target.
It stated that accomplishments made between 2021 and 2022 were built on a decade of significant progress.
WHO’s Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, while speaking on the report, noted that in 2021, 25 per cent fewer people required interventions against NTDs than in 2010, and more than one billion people were treated for NTDs each year between 2016 and 2019 through mass treatment interventions.
Millions of people around the world, have been liberated from the burden of neglected tropical diseases, which have kept people trapped in cycles of poverty and stigma.
He noted that from the progress report a lot of work still has to be done but the good news is, that tools and the know-how are available not just to save lives and prevent suffering, but to free entire communities and countries of the diseases.
The report also noted the significant impact of COVID-19 on community-based interventions and on access to health facilities, as well as on supply chains for healthcare products stressing that COVID-19 led to 34 per cent fewer people receiving treatment for NTDs between 2019 and 2020, even though a general resumption of activities enabled a 11 per cent increase in recovery in 2021, and approximately 900 million people were treated