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

Ukraine: Mysterious 'Roaming Tank' Reportedly Takes Aim at Smugglers

Ukraine's TV, print media, Facebook abuzz with reports a 'roaming tank' is on the loose, destroying vehicles of those involved in smuggling More

US Wildlife Service Begins Probe of Killing of Cecil the Lion

Minnesota man accused of killing beast is in hiding, has been asked to contact US officials; White House to review extradition petition More

Video Kerry Five-Nation Tour to Cover Security, Iran Nuclear Deal

Secretary of state will visit Egypt, Qatar, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam to discuss security issues, Iran nuclear deal, Trans-Pacific Partnership 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.
Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’i
X
July 29, 2015 9:34 PM
Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs