NEGLECTED TROPICAL DISEASES (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Sci & Tech)

News-CRUX-10     1st September 2023        
output themes

Context: The World Health Organization (WHO) has called for increased investments in Africa to control and eliminate neglected tropical diseases.

Key Points

  • The diseases are recognised as a public health problem for poor populations living in tropical environments and difficult-to-access areas especially in low-income and developing countries. These diseases often receive inadequate attention and resources compared to other more well-known and prevalent diseases, hence the term "neglected."

oExamples: African trypanosomiasis, also known as sleeping sickness; lymphatic filariasis, also known as elephantiasis; onchocerciasis or river blindness; schistosomiasis or bilharzia and chronic ulcers and other skin infections.

  • A global roadmap by WHO released in 2021 seeks to reduce by 90% the number of people requiring treatment for these diseases through 2030. It also aims to reduce associated disability by 75 per cent. 
  • The African Regional Framework endorsed the roadmap for the control, eradication and elimination of tropical and vector borne diseases.
  • Guinea worm-free status has been granted to 42 African countries and trachoma has been deemed to be no longer be a public health issue in six African nations. Last year, Togo became the first African country to eliminate four neglected tropical diseases.
  • India: India has the world's largest absolute burden of at least 10 major NTDs, including hookworm, dengue, lymphatic filariasis, leprosy, visceral leishmaniasis or kala-azar and rabies.