The Global Report on Neglected Tropical Diseases 2024

The Global Report on Neglected Tropical Diseases 2024


Why in the News? 

Before the 77th session of the World Health Assembly, the World Health Organization (WHO) published its 2024 Global Report on Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs). This document highlights the advancements achieved in 2023 in executing the 2021-2030 Roadmap for Neglected Tropical Diseases. 

Key highlights of the Report:

  1. As of December 2023, 50 countries had eliminated at least one neglected tropical disease (NTD), marking halfway progress towards the 2030 target of 100 countries.
  2. Five countries were recognised for eliminating one NTD, and one country for eliminating two NTDs.
  3. In July 2023, Iraq became the 50th country to eliminate at least one NTD. This event marks the halfway point towards achieving the 100-country target set for 2030.
  4. Noma was added to the list of NTDs in 2023.
  5. In October 2023, Bangladesh became the first country to be validated by WHO for eliminating visceral leishmaniasis as a public health problem. 
  6. India was certified free of NTDs like dracunculiasis and yaws.
  7. India, which has the highest disease burden, treated about 117 million fewer people for lymphatic filariasis and soil-transmitted helminthiasis in 2022 compared to 2021.
  8. 40.56% of India’s population needed interventions against NTDs in 2022. 

About Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs): 

Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) encompass a variety of infectious diseases prevalent in tropical and subtropical areas, impacting over a billion individuals worldwide. The term “neglected” describes these diseases since they often receive less attention and financial support than other health challenges, even though they profoundly affect health and economic progress.  

Several factors play a role in the prevalence of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), such as the challenging epidemiology linked to environmental factors, diseases spread by vectors, hosts in animal populations, and their complex developmental processes. Even though they have a profound effect, NTDs are allocated significantly lower resources for their research and management when compared to diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis. Some of the most prominent NTDs include:

  1. Dengue Fever: A mosquito-borne viral infection causing flu-like symptoms and, in severe cases, potentially fatal complications.
  2. Chagas Disease: Caused by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, transmitted by the triatomine bug, leading to serious cardiac and digestive issues.
  3. Leishmaniasis is a parasitic disease spread by the bite of infected sandflies. It causes skin sores and can potentially affect internal organs.
  4. Lymphatic Filariasis: It is also known as elephantiasis. It is caused by infection with filarial worms and leads to severe swelling and disability.
  5. Schistosomiasis is a parasitic disease caused by flatworms of the genus Schistosoma. It can lead to liver, urinary, and intestinal damage.
  6. Trachoma: A bacterial eye infection caused by Chlamydia trachomatis, which can lead to blindness.
  7. Onchocerciasis, also known as river blindness, is caused by the parasitic worm Onchocerca volvulus. It is spread by blackfly bites and leads to skin and eye disease.
  8. Soil-transmitted Helminth Infections are caused by various parasitic worms (roundworms, whipworms, hookworms), leading to malnutrition and impaired growth and development. 

Initiative to tackle NTDs: 

  • The WHO’s Roadmap for 2021-2030 focuses on maximizing impact and fostering collaboration in healthcare, sanitation, and community engagement to eradicate Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs). 
  • The 2012 London Declaration advocates for a cohesive strategy to tackle the worldwide challenge of NTDs.
  • India has effectively eradicated multiple Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) and is targeting the elimination of lymphatic filariasis by the year 2027, leveraging initiatives such as APELF. 
  • In 2005, India, Bangladesh, and Nepal, with the support of the WHO, formed a regional alliance to accelerate the early detection and treatment of at-risk groups, enhance disease monitoring, and manage sandfly populations to control Kala-azar. 
  • Financial support programs help people suffering from NTDs, especially those diagnosed with Post-Kala Azar Dermal Leishmaniasis, to handle the economic challenges associated with their condition.
  • The Mass Drug Administration (MDA) has been implemented to prevent lymphatic filariasis in districts where it’s endemic, and indoor residual spraying (IRS) is used to manage the sandfly population responsible for spreading visceral leishmaniasis.  

Some challenges regarding tackling NTD: 

  1. Funding and Resources: NTDs often lack adequate research, prevention, and treatment funding.
  2. Health Infrastructure: Affected regions often have poor healthcare infrastructure, complicating the delivery of interventions.
  3. Socioeconomic Impact: NTDs contribute to a cycle of poverty, as affected individuals are often unable to work or attend school.
  4. Resistance and Co-infection: Emerging drug resistance and co-infections with other diseases, such as HIV, complicate treatment efforts.

Way Forward: 

  • Distributing medications to entire populations to treat and prevent infections.
  • Implementing measures to reduce the populations of disease-carrying insects, such as using insecticides and bed nets.
  • Improving access to clean water and sanitation facilities and promoting hygiene practices to reduce transmission.
  • Developing and deploying vaccines to prevent NTDs where possible.
  • Educating communities about the prevention, symptoms, and treatment of NTDs to reduce stigma and encourage timely medical intervention. 


Download Yojna daily current affairs eng med 23th May 2024


Mains Practice Question:

Q. Discuss the importance of community participation in controlling and eliminating NTDs. How do climate change and environmental factors contribute to their spread?

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