1.7 Billion Threatened: There Are Just No Resources to Fight Chronic Diseases Like Leprosy

Medical experts have warned resources are being sucked away from the fight against a host of debilitating diseases that affect 1.7 billion of the poorest people on the planet.

Charities marked World Neglected Tropical Diseases Day on Saturday, seeking to draw attention to a diverse group of communicable diseases still causing suffering around the world.

They include leprosy, Chagas disease, intestinal worms, dengue and chikungunya, Guinea worm disease, scabies, trachoma and schistosomiasis, lymphatic filariasis or elephantiasis, yaws, river blindness and sleeping sickness.

The World Health Organisation released its second 10-year-plan on January 28 with the aim of eliminating at least one of the 20 recognized NTDs in at least 90 countries by 2030.

It also aims to make drugs safe and available and target the mosquitoes, flies and ticks that spread some NTDs, with a view to cutting the number of people requiring medical treatment for the diseases by 90% over the next 10 years.

The WHO said in September the outbreak had hit NTD programmes.

Countries have had to suspend mass treatment interventions and active-case finding and delay diagnosis and treatment.

Critical personnel have been reassigned to deal with COVID-19 and the manufacture, shipment and delivery of medicines has been disrupted, it said, warning of ‘an increased burden of NTDs’.

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