Neglected Tropical Diseases

Global collaboration treats more than 1 billion for NTDs in 2016


In 2016, more than 1 billion people of the world’s poorest people were reached with treatment for at least one neglected tropical disease in one of the most comprehensive global health collaborations in history.

That’s one in seven of the world’s population. Fewer people are suffering from these debilitating diseases than ever before, and many countries are eliminating them.

These are just some of the highlights of the 5th Progress Report of the London Declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases, a commitment by the public and private sectors to achieve the World Health Organization (WHO) goals for control, elimination and eradication of 10 NTDs. NTDs affect nearly 1.5 billion people in the world’s most impoverished, marginalized and remote communities.

“The story of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) is one of great progress and remaining challenges,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the WHO. “Five years ago, the world committed itself to control, eliminate or eradicate 10 NTDs by 2020. Since then, tremendous success stories have been received from around the world.”

The 5th Progress Report, launched at the Universal Health Coverage Forum in Tokyo in December, details the accelerated progress since the 2012 London Declaration, demonstrating the impact of collaborative action between the public sector, the private sector, communities and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).

Highlights from the report:

• Only 2,184 cases of Human African trypanosomiasis, or “sleeping sickness,” were reported in 2016 – down from 6,747 in 2011.

• Five countries have eliminated trachoma as a public health problem since 2012: Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Mexico, Morocco and Oman.

• Only 26 cases of Guinea worm disease have been reported so far in 2017, a drop of 98% from over 1,060 cases in 2011

• 4 countries in the Americas have eliminated onchocerciasis since 2012: Colombia, Guatemala, Ecuador and Mexico.

• 10 countries have eliminated LF as a public health problem – four in 2017 alone.

• Worldwide, 400 million people no longer require preventive chemotherapy treatment for neglected tropical diseases.

• 1.8 billion treatments donated by industry partners in a record-breaking drug donation programme in global health

“Thanks to this partnership, these neglected diseases are now getting the attention they deserve so fewer people have to suffer from these treatable conditions,” said Bill Gates, co-founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. “There have been many successes in the past 5 years, but the job is not done yet. We have set ambitious targets for 2020 that require the continued commitment of pharmaceutical companies, donor and recipient governments, and frontline health workers to ensure drugs are available and delivered to the hardest to reach people.” Since the London Declaration was launched in 2012, billions of treatments have been donated by pharmaceutical companies and delivered to impoverishedcommunities in nearly 150 countries. As the commitment has strengthened, so has the research into medications that can more effectively treat NTDs, thus reducing the burden of pain and lessened quality of life for hundreds of millions of people.

The global NTD elimination effort has become one of the largest health programmes in the world, covering nearly every region at risk. Investments in innovation and technology have yielded better tools to prevent, detect and treat NTDs.

New drug combinations
For example, research shows that new combinations of three existing drugs (ivermectin, diethylcarbamazine, and albendazole [IDA]) can dramatically improve treatment for LF and decrease the duration of programmes. This fi nding has been endorsed by WHO for use in programmes to accelerate progress towards elimination and is now supported by an extended ivermectin donation from Merck. It is estimated that nearly 100 million people each year will benefi t from this new triple drug therapy treatment and from the extended donation from Merck.

The 5th Progress Report and its release during the Universal Health Coverage Forum provides ample evidence of the contribution of NTD programmes to the global health for all agenda. Population coverage is key in the UHC journey, with the World Bank and the World Health Organisation universally agreeing that countries should aim to cover at least 80% of their population with quality essential health care services.

The report shows that in providing services to 1 billion people in 2016, 62% of the population in need were reached, closing in on the WHO’s UHC target of 80% essential health care services coverage. The success of the global drive to end NTDs is in part due to millions of health workers and community volunteers trained to reach and provide services to people who are frequently far from a health facility.

Shared prosperity
The unequalled reach of the global NTD programme can provide a gateway to universal health coverage and shared prosperity. In fact, the report shows that NTD control and prevention are among the most costeffective interventions in public health. 600 million disability adjusted life years could be averted, including 150 million manifestations of irreversible disease (such as blindness), as well as 5 million deaths.

For every dollar invested by funders in NTD control and prevention, the net benefi t to affected individuals is $25 because they are able to work and contribute to their local economies.

The global partnership to end NTDs is expanding quickly, as evidenced by the November “Reaching the Last Mile” Forum in Abu Dhabi. At that event, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, launched the Reaching the Last Mile Fund, expected to raise $100 million with the goal to eliminate and control two preventable neglected diseases: onchocerciasis and lymphatic fi lariasis.

This followed closely behind an announcement by the Kuwait Fund for a further commitment of $4 million to the Expanded Special Project for the Elimination of NTDs in Africa (ESPEN), building on over 30 years of investments in NTDs. And at same time as the 5th Progress Report launch, the establishment of a Japanese NTD network, was announced. This will be housed at Nagasaki University and will be a multi-partner initiative, involving academic institutions, NGOs and government departments.

5th Progress Report of the London Declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases




Date of upload: 22nd Jan 2018

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