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‘Tide Is Turning’ On NTDs, But ‘Broader Attack’ Needed, Including Efforts To Reach SDG Targets

Financial Times: Dr. Margaret Chan: The tide is turning for neglected tropical diseases
Margaret Chan, director general of the WHO

“Eleven years ago, shortly before I became its director general, the World Health Organization and a group of more than 25 partners met in Washington to unveil a new strategy to rescue some of the world’s poorest people from four neglected tropical diseases. … In 2012, the partners elevated the program to a new level, meeting in London, to unite around a new set of ambitious goals to eradicate, eliminate, or accelerate the control of a wider group of 17 neglected tropical diseases, which were outlined in a WHO ‘roadmap.’ The London Declaration catalyzed a massive expansion of support … These neglected tropical diseases, so long starved of resources, were finally getting the support they require. The tide is turning. … In the midst of progress, however, we must recognize that medical interventions alone cannot solve the problem of neglected tropical diseases. A broader attack on the social, environmental, and economic determinants of health is needed. The targets set for water supply, sanitation, nutrition, and housing by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development will have the largest long-term impact. On current trends, though, many of these ancient diseases may be brought to their knees before that 2030 deadline arrives”