Neglected tropical diseases: Collaborate Accelerate Eliminate

CDC/ James Gathany

Dengue – spread by mosquitoes – is making a resurgence in the WHO European Region

In the WHO European Region, much progress has been made in controlling and eliminating neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).  The Region has achieved the global target for leprosy elimination – less than 1 case per million population. As a result of mass preventive chemotherapy campaigns, conducted consecutively for several years and supported by WHO, the prevalence of intestinal worms in school-age children in high-burden countries has dropped from 70% to 30%.

Yet dengue is making a resurgence in the Region after 50 years. Its spread is driven by the globalization of trade and travel, increased urbanization and climate change. Leishmaniasis, spread through a bite from an infected sandfly, remains endemic in half of the countries in the WHO European Region and the burden of disease in some countries of the Region is still underestimated.  Central Asia and the Caucasus region are considered to have the highest burden of soil-transmitted helminths (STH) (intestinal worms); despite a reduction of STH prevalence, the issue still remains a public health problem.

WHO/Europe supports European countries to monitor and control invasive vectors and re-emerging mosquito-borne diseases, as well as control leishmaniasis and soil-transmitted helminthiasis. To this end, WHO/Europe has published extensive guidance for European countries to assist in their efforts to achieve these targets by 2020 and contribute to the Sustainable Development Agenda.

Global Partners Meeting on NTDs

WHO is hosting a Global Partners Meeting on NTDs on 19 April 2017, to promote collaboration and accelerate the integration of interventions into national health systems.  Cross-sectoral approaches are required to achieve target 3.3 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals: By 2030, to end the epidemics of neglected tropical diseases (among other communicable diseases). The Fourth WHO Report on Neglected Tropical Diseases is also being launched at the meeting.