Elimination of neglected tropical diseases
Guest edited by Robert Bergquist, Adrian Hopkins and Xiao-Nong Zhou
An article collection published in Infectious Diseases of Poverty.
Inspired by the 'roadmap' developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2011 for the control, elimination and eradication of a group of infectious diseases named neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), senior government officials from endemic and donor countries, global health organizations, major pharmaceutical companies, Bill Gates of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and WHO's then Director General Margaret Chan signed the London Declaration in January 2012, a commitment to control or eliminate 10 diseases by the end of this decade. This joint effort to do something about infections strongly associated with poverty in tropical and subtropical environments, was endorsed by all member states through the World Health Assembly (WHA) NTD resolution (1948-2013) in 2013 and has since become the largest public health initiatives in history. Eliminate NTDs is indeed one of indicators listed in the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal (2015-2030), which is linked with a crucial component of universal health coverage aiming to lift the burden of disease from populations in low-income and middle-income countries with limited access to health services and conceptualized as “leaving no one behind”.
Stakeholders have chartered a course toward health and sustainability among the world’s poorest communities offering them global eradication of dracunculiasis, blinding trachoma, leprosy, human African trypanosomiasis, lymphatic filariasis and elimination at the regional level of rabies, endemic treponematoses (endemic syphilis, pinta and yaws), Chagas disease, visceral leishmaniasis, onchocerciasis and schistosomiasis by 2020. However, the fourth progress report from Uniting to Combat Neglected Tropical Diseases issued in 2016 finds that many deadlines have been missed. Still there is hope that the above mentioned five NTDs could be eliminated or eradicated within the next few years with continued significant gains for the other NTDs. On the other hand, for roughly an equal number of diseases (trichuriasis, hookworm disease, food-borne trematodiases, cystic echinococcosis) progress has been minimal or stalled. In some cases, we are losing ground, especially for some of the vector-borne and zoonotic diseases, including dengue and other arbovirus infections, leishmaniasis, Chagas disease.
This intention of this issue is to show the progress and challenges in NTD elimination in different geographic settings around the world giving the current status and prospects for each disease. Particularly, some of successive stories will be published to share experiences with other counties or regions in order to promote the global elimination program on NTDs.