Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are a diverse group of communicable diseases that prevail in tropical and subtropical conditions in 149 countries and affect more than one billion people, costing developing economies billions of dollars every year. They mainly affect populations living in poverty, without adequate sanitation and in close contact with infectious vectors and domestic animals and livestock.
Effective control against NTDs can be achieved when several public health approaches are combined. Interventions are therefore guided by local epidemiology and availability of appropriate detection, prevention and control measures that can be delivered locally. Implementation of appropriate measures with high coverage will lead to achieving the WHO NTD Roadmap targets resulting in the elimination of many diseases and the eradication of at least two by 2020.
In May 2013, the 66th World Health Assembly adopted resolution WHA66.12 which calls on Member States to intensify and integrate measures and plan investments to improve the health and social well-being of affected populations. WHO is working with Member States to ensure the implementation of WHA66.12.
WHO recognises there are still many tropical, poverty-related diseases that affect the same populations and share many features with the neglected tropical diseases. WHO supports advocacy, awareness and the need to develop appropriate solutions that can also be implemented in low resource settings.
A systematic technically driven process for the adoption of additional diseases as NTDs
In January 2016, the 138th session of the WHO Executive Board requested the Strategic and Technical Advisory Group (STAG) for Neglected Tropical Diseases to develop a 'systematic, technically driven process for the adoption of additional diseases as NTDs.'
The proposed criteria for classifying a condition as an NTD and the process for review of the list of NTDs can be accessed here.