A map showing the number of people requiring interventions against NTDs in 2015. Source: Fourth WHO Report on Neglected Tropical Diseases

19 April 2017 – The United Nations today cited “record-breaking” progress in controlling neglected tropical diseases – which blind, maim, disfigure and debilitate millions of people worldwide, especially in its poorest areas – as an estimated one billion people were reached with treatment for at least one of these diseases in 2015 alone, according to the Organization’s health agency.

“[We have] observed record-breaking progress towards bringing ancient scourges like sleeping sickness and elephantiasis to their knees,” said Margaret Chan, the Director-General of the UN World Health Organization in a news release today on efforts to tackle the diseases, known as NTDs.

“Over the past 10 years, millions of people have been rescued from disability and poverty, thanks to one of the most effective global partnerships in modern public health.”

The UN agency’s new report, Integrating Neglected Tropical Diseases into Global Health and Development, shows how political support, improvements in living conditions and supply of medicines have led to sustained expansion of disease control programmes in countries where these diseases are most prevalent.

Another major milestone was the endorsement of a NTD roadmap in 2012, in which WHO partners committed additional support and resources to eliminating 10 of the most common NTDs.

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