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

    S. African Farmer Goes From 'Voice in the Wilderness' to Sought-After Expert

    Margarest Roberts has authored more than 40 books on subjects like organic farming, urban agriculture, herbs and ‘superfoods'

    Millennial Men Prefer Bucks Over Beauty

    U.S. men aged 18 to 34 say the finances of a potential significant other are more important than her looks

    Multimedia Lebanese Clown Troupe Marks Valentine's Day Amid Stink

    Activists resort to unusual approaches to raise public awareness of country’s ongoing trash crisis

    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.
    Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clownsi
    X
    February 09, 2016 8:04 PM
    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay Prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East Affairs and national security.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.