About Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) & Road Map 2030

By Sudheer Kumar K|Updated : June 2nd, 2021

Delegates at the 74th World Health Assembly unanimously adopted a proposal by the UAE to declare January 30 as ‘World NTD Day’. WHA has also adopted the new NTD road map on January 28, 2021.

World Neglected Tropical Disease Day & Road Map

  • On 30 January 2012, the 'London Declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases' was implemented. That's the reason for choosing '30 January' for 'World Neglected Tropical Disease Day".
  • Informally, the first World Neglected Tropical Disease Day was observed in the year 2020.

NTDs Road Map 2021-2030: 

WHO launched the NTD Roadmap 2021-2030 on 28 January, 2021, with ambitious new goals to lead us into the next decade of collective action. WHO's new road map for 2021-2030 is calling for three strategic changes to eradicate 'neglected tropical diseases':

1. Instead of measuring the process, the impact will be measured.

2. In place of disease-specific planning and programming, collaborative work in all areas will be taken up.

3. In place of externally driven agenda, country-owned and country-funded programs will be introduced.

About Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD)

According to the WHO,

  • Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) are common infections found in marginalized communities in developing regions of Africa, Asia and the Americas.
  • Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) are caused by a variety of pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, protozoa and parasitic worms.
  • Snakebites, pruritus, Yaws, Trachoma, Kala-azar (Leishmaniasis), Chagas etc. are some examples of 'Neglected Tropical Diseases' (NTDs). WHO recognised 20 Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) as shown the image below.

  • NTDs affect more than a billion people globally.
  • These diseases are preventable and treatable. However, their intricate interrelationships with poverty and ecological systems continue to cause devastating health, social and economic consequences.”

Major Concern

One of the major concerns is that there is less expenditure on research and treatment of these diseases than for diseases such as tuberculosis, HIV-AIDS and malaria.

NTDs and Measures taken by India

India is home to the world’s largest absolute burden of 12 of 20 recognised NTDs. India has made important progress towards NTD control and elimination:

  • Nearly 241 million children between 1 and 14 years age are at risk of parasitic intestinal worms in India, also known as Soil-Transmitted Helminths (STH). Government of India has launched National Deworming Day to make every child in the country worm-free.
  • India has been successfully implementing multidrug therapy for leprosy together with rifampicin post-exposure prophylaxis.
  • India has also achieved progress against many other NTDs, especially vector-borne diseases such as leishmaniasis, dengue, and other arbovirus infections. 

Way Forward

India, if increased its capacities, can become a leader in producing next-generation NTD technologies, which could include new leishmaniasis and dengue vaccines and other technologies.

In order to achieve this objective, Government of India must forge new partnerships between private for-profit biotech companies and its research universities. One such example is the partnership between the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) and Sun Pharma for developing Dengue vaccine

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Sudheer Kumar KSudheer Kumar KMember since Sep 2020
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