Diseases that kill world's poorest in retreat

WHO Claims Remarkable Progress in Combating Neglected Tropical Diseases

Guinea-worm disease, which is transmitted through drinking water, is now almost eradicated on a global scale, the World Health Organization says.

"With the boost to this momentum being made today, I am confident nearly all of these diseases can be eliminated or controlled by the end of this decade".

Recent efforts around the world have reduced the number of people affected by tropical diseases.

Gates, who met last month with President Trump, said he made a point of telling the president how effective money spent on neglected tropical diseases can be.

A group of global partners agreed to fight neglected tropical diseases together in 2007.

"Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, and Nigeria have the highest prevalence of NTDs, but even very wealthy nations have a hidden burden of NTDs, such as the United States, where it is mostly concentrated in the southern states, and Australia, where blinding trachoma and scabies remain major public health problems in many Aboriginal communities", the report said.

Lymphatic filariasis, commonly called elephantiasis, is a mosquito-borne infection that causes abnormal enlargement of limbs and genitals.

"Of 4.9 million people who were at risk of contracting river blindness, 3.4 million of them are now protected. So we said: 'Why can't you do this?'" Molyneux said. Still, she added, the substantial progress made by collaborative efforts across the globe is "very impressive". "By leveraging our resources and focusing on a common goal, we are already making unprecedented progress towards eliminating these horrific diseases".

The first two - preventive chemotherapy and innovative disease management - Engels refers to as "medical interventions", since both involve direct treatment for patients.

Bill Gates said the partnership had yielded some impressive results, "None of these diseases are getting worse".

"Cutaneous leishmaniasis, for instance".

Leishmaniases: transmitted through the bites of infected female sandflies.

The aim of medical interventions, then, is to help people early "because sometimes when you're too late, you can not change much anymore", said Engels. Guinea worm, a parasitic disease, will also be finally eliminated. Without treatment, numerous diseases can cause disability in children and stop adults from leading productive lives. With support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the project aimed to complete the mapping of four diseases - Lymphatic Filariasis, Onchocerciasis, Soil-Transmitted Helminths and Schistosomiasis. "We have set ambitious targets for 2020 that require the continued commitment of pharmaceutical companies, donors, recipient governments, and frontline health workers to ensure that drugs are available delivered to the hardest to reach people".

Ghana has therefore been certified by the World Health Organisation (WHO) since July 2014, whilst the elimination of Trachoma has been achieved since 2016 with the dossier preparation for verification of elimination ongoing. It estimates that a package to treat or prevent several neglected diseases costs around $0.50 per person. They kill about 170,000 people yearly and cause untold suffering for millions of men, women, and children who are disfigured, disabled, stigmatized and unable to work their way out of poverty. The World Bank has developed a framework for infrastructure and social development. The London meeting from five years ago had as an outcome a pledge meant to control or annihilate ten neglected tropical diseases by 2020. In 2015, only 12 human cases of rabies were reported in the WHO Region of the Americas, and there were only 25 cases of guinea worm disease.

In 2015, only 2,804 cases were registered, down from 37,000 in 1999, World Health Organization said, putting the goal of eliminating the disease altogether by 2030 "on track".

Jacobson worries about potential barriers to advancement. The cases occurred in three countries: Chad, Ethiopia, and South Sudan.

Dr. Caroline Harper, chief executive of Sightsavers, a worldwide charity that fights preventable blindness, said the investment would have a dramatic impact around the world. "Part of the reason they have been neglected is because they are in mostly tropical countries", he said.

Yaws: chronic bacterial infection affecting mainly the skin and bone.



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