SEA/RC69/12: Time-bound elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs)
AbstractMore than a billion people across the world, mostly living in the low- and lower-middle-income countries, are affected by neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). At least one NTD is endemic in each of the Member States of the WHO South-East Asia Region. The Region bears the second highest burden of these debilitating infections in the world. WHO’s NTD roadmap, endorsed by the World Health Assembly resolution titled “Neglected tropical diseases” (WHA66.12), has identified specific NTDs with the aim to control, eliminate and, in select few cases, eradicate these diseases with specified time-bound targets. NTDs are also incorporated in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and find clear mention in SDG 3.3 extending the focus on their elimination beyond 2020. Elimination of the targeted NTDs is a regional health priority, and one of the Flagship Priority Areas, for the WHO Regional Office for South-East Asia. The NTDs targeted for elimination in the South-East Asia Region are lymphatic filariasis (LF), visceral leishmaniasis (VL), leprosy and schistosomiasis, while yaws is targeted for eradication at the global level. The Region has made commendable progress in moving towards the WHO NTD roadmap targets. India has been formally recognized as being yaws-free while elimination of LF as a public health problem has been acknowledged in Maldives and Sri Lanka. Like any other disease elimination or eradication programme, as we move towards the last mile of eliminating some of the NTDs, new issues and challenges are emerging that need to be carefully addressed to keep the elimination process on track. The attached Working Paper was presented to the High-Level Preparatory (HLP) Meeting for its review and recommendations. The HLP reviewed the paper and made the following recommendations for consideration by the Sixty-ninth Session of the Regional Committee: Actions by Member States (1) Maintain the support, high-level political commitment and provision of optimum flexible resources needed to accelerate progress towards the elimination of NTDs. (2) Consider real-time monitoring of activities at all levels to ensure early identification of bottlenecks and making timely corrections.(3) Consider an urgent service-delivery model and targeted approach for the elimination of NTDs. (4) Empower and involve communities in the effort to eliminate NTDs. (5) Generate and compile disaggregated data to report on coverage and response. Actions by WHO (1) Provide support for the creation of a high-level technical group to identify barriers to a time-bound elimination plan and report back on the same to the honourable health ministers of Member States concerned on a six-monthly basis and to the Regional Committee at every annual session. (2) Provide strategic solutions and adopt innovations for strategic problems related to NTD elimination. (3) Arrange a high-level regional meeting to advocate for sustained political commitment, cross-border collaboration and identification of bottlenecks and challenges, identify effective and feasible solutions, and promote the adoption of innovative approaches. (4) Consider establishing a partners group in the Region to support efforts to eliminate NTDs. (5) Develop an appropriate surveillance framework for early local detection of problem and mid-course correction. This Working Paper and the HLP Meeting recommendations are submitted to the Sixty-ninth Session of the WHO Regional Committee for South-East Asia for its consideration and decision.
Regional Office for South-East Asia, World Health Organization. (2016). SEA/RC69/12: Time-bound elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs). WHO Regional Office for South-East Asia. https://apps.who.int/iris/handle/10665/246272