Neglected tropical diseases

WHO leads multi-country study to simplify oral treatment of yaws

29 July 2016 | Geneva –– A study in Ghana and Papua New Guinea will determine if a lower dose of the antibiotic, azithromycin, is effective in curing yaws - a chronic skin disease that mainly affects children.
A lower dose is currently being used to treat trachoma, a disease of the eye. If efficacy of a yaws low dose is established, it can be a win-win situation to simultaneously tackle both diseases of poverty.
The researcher who discovered that a single dose of oral azithromycin against yaws recently appealed for free donation of tablets to accelerate eradication of the disease.

© National Yaws Eradication Programme
Health workers using rapid point-of-care tests during a yaws study in Ghana

India's triumph over yaws adds momentum to global eradication

14 July 2016 | Geneva / New Delhi – WHO has urged countries that remain endemic for yaws to emulate the success of India and accelerate efforts to interrupt transmission by 2020.
Today, a patient can easily be cured of yaws through a single-dose tablet of azithromycin; treatment can be given simultaneously to all people at risk of the disease in affected communities.
India eliminated yaws using injectable penicillin. Today's celebration in New Delhi also marked the success of the country in eliminating maternal and neonatal tetanus as a public health problem.


Religious communities unite to address leprosy-associated stigmatization and discrimination

24 June 2016 | Vatican City | New Delhi | Geneva -- Major religions of the world can contribute to address the social dimension of leprosy control, support positive attitudes and promote a more humane, accommodating approach.
Erroneous customs and beliefs throughout history ostracized people who suffered from leprosy and compounded stigmatization and discrimination. This is one of the messages that emerged from an international symposium held in the Vatican City on 9 −10 June 2016.

©Alamy Stock Photo

WHO to implement online epidemiological surveillance for leishmaniasis

21 June 2016 | Geneva −− The World Health Organization (WHO) is supporting the use of a new data system to ensure the accurate, sustained flow of information for leishmaniasis.

An improved dissemination and understanding of the problem posed by all forms of the disease can greatly help control programmes and allow countries to improve their surveillance systems.
Data from 25 countries with high disease prevalence show an estimated 399 million people are at risk of cutaneous leishmaniasis in 11 countries, while 556 million are exposed to visceral leishmaniasis 12 countries.

© UNAMA/Fraidoon Poya

UK parliamentarians discuss opportunities and challenges to defeat neglected tropical diseases

16 June 2016 | Geneva −− The distribution of donated medicines, the anticipated shift from foreign aid to country-generated investments for health and non health sectors in the era of the Sustainable Development Goals and continued support to policy-makers in endemic countries - these are some of the themes discussed during the last All-Party Parliamentary Group on Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases.
The meeting in London, UK brought together representatives from both houses of parliament, as well as the World Health Organization and its partners.

© Helen Hamilton

Dracunculiasis eradication: WHO ready to verify Kenya and Sudan

14 June 2016 | Geneva −− Kenya and Sudan have announced they will formally request WHO to verify interruption of transmission of dracunculiasis (guinea-worm disease) in September and November 2016, respectively.

Both former endemic countries have reported zero cases during the past 3 years and are currently in the precertification phase.

WHO is the only organization mandated to certify countries as free of guinea-worm disease.

© Choice Humanitarian
WHO aims to improve access to antileishmanial medicines in affected countries

WHO aims to improve access to antileishmanial medicines in affected countries

2 June 2016 | Geneva –– The World Health Organization (WHO) plans to harmonize the forecasting, procurement and delivery of quality-assured antileishmanial medicines to affected countries.

Currently, partners and stakeholders who work in collaboration with WHO plan their procurement, storage and distribution independently.

A first Stakeholders Meeting recently held in Geneva agreed that a common platform can greatly improve coordination, planning, monitoring and quality of medicines.

©Albert González Farran

fact buffet


99%of people infected live mostly in rural areas of 31 African countries.

Fact sheet on onchocerciasis

Chagas disease

8 millionpeople estimated to be infected worldwide, mostly in Latin America.

Fact sheet on Chagas disease


22 casesoccurred in 2015 in only 4 countries in Africa.

Fact sheet on guinea-worm disease

One of the biggest challenges in the control of the Aedes Egypti mosquito is its adaptation and resilience. Watch Dr. Raman Velayudhan’s comments.