Truly, when we open our eyes to changes or otherwise occurrences in our environment, there are “things” we often neglect which are also vital to human survival on earth. Some of these include the Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs).
Why are they neglected? World Health Organization states that Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) are a diverse group of 20 conditions that are mainly prevalent in tropical areas, where they mostly affect impoverished communities and disproportionately affect women and children.
These diseases cause devastating health, social and economic consequences to more than one billion people. They include: Buruli ulcer, Chagas disease, dengue and chikungunya, dracunculiasis (Guinea-worm disease), echinococcosis, foodborne trematodiases, human African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), leishmaniasis, leprosy (Hansen’s disease), lymphatic filariasis, mycetoma, chromoblastomycosis and other deep mycoses, onchocerciasis (river blindness), rabies, scabies and other ectoparasitoses, schistosomiasis, soil-transmitted helminthiases, snakebite envenoming, taeniasis/cysticercosis, trachoma, and yaws and other endemic treponematoses.
However, WHO’s action to control, prevent, eliminate and eradicate NTDs is guided by the new NTD road map for 2021-2030, that moves away from vertical disease programmes to integrated cross-cutting approaches. The aim is to facilitate the coordinated scale-up of key interventions through public health approaches such as preventive chemotherapy, individual case management, vector control, veterinary public health and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH).
Furthermore, much more needs to be done to achieve the goal of controlling and eliminating NTDs. Increased funding and political budgets are needed to expand access to essential medicines and health services, and to invest in research and development, to find new and innovative ways to fight NTDs.
The theme for this year’s world celebration is “Act Now. Act Together. Invest in Neglected Tropical Diseases.” It calls for an appraisal of our works; to some, negligence or otherwise, mismanagement of health information in neglected tropical diseases. World NTDs Day is a collaborative work. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of the millions of people affected by these debilitating diseases.
Join us as we celebrate World Neglected Tropical Diseases on Monday, 30th January, 2023.