World Neglected Tropical Diseases

09/04/2024 | B MANOGNA REDDY

World Neglected Tropical Diseases:

World Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) Day is celebrated on January 30th each year to raise awareness about neglected tropical diseases and mobilize efforts to eliminate them. Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) refer to a variety of conditions resulting from different pathogens (viruses, bacteria, parasites, fungi or toxins) that have severe health implications as well as social and economic consequences.

World Neglected Tropical Diseases

NTDs are mostly found in the very poor parts of the world especially those within tropics where they occur with varying distribution. More than 1 billion people are estimated to suffer from this condition while 1.6 billion people require interventions for controlling NTDs both preventively and curatively.

Diseases included in NTD’s:

Buruli ulcer, Chagas disease, dengue and chikungunya, dracunculiasis, echinococcosis, foodborne trematodiases, human African trypanosomiasis, leishmaniasis, leprosy, lymphatic filariasis, mycetoma, chromoblastomycosis and other deep mycoses, noma, onchocerciasis, rabies, scabies and other ectoparasitoses, schistosomiasis, soil-transmitted helminthiases, snakebite envenoming, taeniasis/cysticercosis, trachoma, and yaws.

Prevention of NTD’s:

The following can prevent neglected tropical diseases (NTDs)

Theme for world NTD’s 2024:

In 2024, the Theme of the World Neglected Tropical Diseases Day is “Unite. Act. Eliminate.”. The theme emphasizes a call to action for all, including leaders and people in various communities, come together and address injustices that result into neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). This means investing in sustainable solutions to assist an estimated 1.62 billion people in some of the most vulnerable communities across the globe escape from poverty and disease cycle.

Previous year themes:


On 30th January 2012, World NTD Day marks the simultaneous release of the first NTD road plan (2012-2020) and the London Declaration on NTDs.

The London Declaration on NTDs was adopted on 30th January 2012 to acknowledge the global burden of NTDs. Officials from the World Bank, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Health Organization (WHO), representatives from top global pharmaceutical companies, and representatives from several national governments gathered at London's Royal College of Physicians to pledge their commitment to putting an end to the diseases.

The neglected tropical disease was first proposed officially by UAE, recognizing the day after all delegates agreed to and passed this proposal. WHO further approved this at the 74th World Health Assembly (2021).

Importance of the day:

World NTDs Day is an occasion for promoting the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of NTDs with increased access to these interventions, as well as dealing with the economic and social determinants perpetuating these diseases. This day also facilitates associations among state governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), academic institutions and others concerned with accelerating achievement of the health-related SDGs.

Neglected tropical diseases lead to financial hardship in patients and their families. Furthermore, it has other negative implications including impairment, prejudice, disgrace and social marginalization. However, this has seen NTD’s have been given a very low priority or none at all in global health policy.

Tropical diseases are neglected because:

  1. They do not have much attention in the agenda or high priority listing.
  2. Less money is spent by local or national government on them
  3. Their association with social stigma

The epidemiology of NTDs is intricate and is often influenced by ecological factors. The spread of NTDs is complex and influenceable by various environmental factors as they are public health remains difficult to manage since most of these NTDs have animal reservoirs complex life cycles vectors that transmit them.

2020 saw the World Health Organization (WHO) predict that nearly 190 million years of healthy life would be lost to disability due to neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) and that over $1.7 billion would be spent per year for treatment of at least one NTD. In 2019, more than 1 billion people underwent treatment for at least five tropical diseases.

The new roadmap on Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) for 2021-2030 moves away from vertical disease programmes to integrated cross-cutting approaches which shall guide WHO’s actions on speeding up the elimination, control, eradication and prevention of NTDs. To this end, WHO has suggested five strategic actions:

  1. New and improved interventions towards disease control
  2. Distribution of chemoprophylactic drugs to all individuals
  3. Management/control of vectors
  4. Encouraging public veterinary health services
  5. Providing clean sources of water supply, sanitation facilities and hygiene environment

The Global Goals target for 2030 include a decrease in the number of NTD patients by 90%; reduction in DALYs caused by NTDs by about 75%; having at least one hundred countries with no less than one NTD eliminated; getting rid of dracunculiasis and yaws completely from the world map in order to become certified free regions.

Last modified on 09/04/2024


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