News / Health

WHO Reports Progress in Fight Against Tropical Diseases

A researcher looks at mosquito specimen in a test tube as part of their analysis on the dengue disease at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in Muntinlupa city, south of Manila, August 17, 2011.
A researcher looks at mosquito specimen in a test tube as part of their analysis on the dengue disease at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in Muntinlupa city, south of Manila, August 17, 2011.
Lisa Schlein
The eradication of some of the world’s neglected tropical diseases is in sight, according to the World Health Organization. The U.N. agency said in a report issued Wednesday that a new global strategy enacted in 2010 is resulting in unprecedented progress against 17 such diseases.

The regular supply of quality assured, cost-effective medicines and support from global partners is at the heart of the new global strategy.  In the past two years, millions of people afflicted with 17 of the world’s neglected tropical diseases have benefited from receiving regular treatment.  The World Health Organization says this achievement is giving new momentum to efforts to eliminate these conditions.

The director of WHO’s Department of Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases, Lorenzo Savioli, says WHO is preparing a road map for the elimination, eradication or control of particular diseases between 2015 and 2020.

He says much of the success of the global strategy is based upon the widespread delivery of safe drugs to treat these ailments.

“We have the evidence that over 700 million treatments were delivered regularly every year to the people in need, to the poorest people in the poorest sections of the world. Of the best treatment for the poorest people are delivered every year in a regular way," Savioli said. "In Africa for instance, 36 out of 44 countries have readied plans to implement programs and these programs are expanding progressively and the political commitment from these countries is very much improving.”

WHO is targeting the global eradication of guinea worm disease in 2015 and yaws in 2020.  The report outlines six targets set for the elimination of five diseases in 2015 and another 10 targets for nine diseases for 2020, either globally or in selected geographical areas.  

WHO estimates that up to 200 million people are infected with schistosomiasis, a major parasitic disease, in parts of South America, Asia and Africa.  It kills about 280,000 people every year in sub-Saharan Africa.

In the next five years, WHO projects treatment for schistosomiasis will reach 235 million people.  The United Nations health agency says increasing the availability of donated medicines and improving distribution at the country level will make this possible.

Mario Ottiglio is associate director of Global Health Policy for the International Federation for Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Association.  He says that last year his industry announced the donation of 14 billion treatments to control or eliminate nine NTDs responsible for 90 percent of the total disease burden.

“Our industry is on track with all the commitments made last year -- especially with donations.  In some cases, like schistosomiasis, the overall commitment will see also doubling of the donations that we had to date…While we have an important role to play, while WHO has a fundamental role to play, it’s also important that a lot of pieces come together," Ottiglio stated. "So, improving sanitation, increasing access to safe water, having the necessary infrastructure, strengthening capacity building, and in making sure we do investment to reinforce health systems that are often weak and overburdened in the low and middle-income countries.”

WHO estimates NTDs affect more than 1 billion people in all continents of the world.  Neglected tropical diseases can strike wherever poverty exists. Africa is the continent where most of these dreaded infections are found. But in terms of numbers, Asia is where the burden of disease is highest.

WHO says the prospects of freeing millions of people from the misery and disability that have mired them in poverty for centuries have never been so strong.  But, it warns the dangers persist and people must remain vigilant.  WHO says they must do whatever it takes to eliminate these devastating diseases. 

For example, it notes dengue fever is increasing because of urbanization, the rapid movement of people in groups and climate change.  Last year, it notes, dengue ranked as the fastest spreading vector-borne viral disease, with an epidemic potential in the world.

WHO says the world needs to move away from reacting after the fact.  It must implement sustainable preventive measures to blunt the threats posed by this disease.

You May Like

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As the tumult in the Middle East distracts Obama, shifting American focus eastward appears threatened More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid