WHO urges governments to increase investment to tackle 17 neglected tropical diseases

WHO urges governments to increase investment to tackle 17 neglected tropical diseases
News release
19 February 2015 ¦ GENEVA – WHO urges affected countries to scale up their investment in tackling 17 neglected tropical diseases in order to improve the health and well-being of more than 1.5 billion people. This investment would represent as little as 0.1% of current domestic expenditure on health in affected low- and middle-income countries for the period 2015-2030.

Neglected tropical diseases cause blindness, disfigurement, permanent disability and death, particularly among the poor…

“Increased investments by national governments can alleviate human misery, distribute economic gains more evenly and free masses of people long trapped in poverty,” says WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan.

Progress
The report highlights progress made in recent years, largely attributed to a scale-up of control interventions in reaching the poorest. For example, in 2012 alone, more than 800 million people were treated for at least one neglected tropical disease. In 2014 there were just 126 cases reported of Dracunculiasis (guinea-worm disease), compared to almost 1800 in 2010 and 3.5 million in the mid-1980s. Eradication of this disease is achievable with continued effort and investment.
Need for increased domestic investment targets

The report sets specific investment targets for many of the 17 diseases. It stresses that countries must make firm and sustainable budgetary commitments if they are to meet WHO targets and accelerate progress.

The investments
:: An annual investment of US$ 2.9 billion until 2020 (including vector control), is required to reach targets set in 2012 in the WHO Roadmap for 2015-2020.
:: For the following 10 years (2021-2030), investment requirements will drop to US$ 1.6 billion per year. Annual investments will continue to decrease as diseases are reduced or eliminated.
:: This adds up to a total investment of US$ 34 billion (over 16 years) and excludes cost of donated medicines and other in-kind contributions.
The impacts
:: By 2017, the number of people receiving preventive treatment for at least one of the diseases should reach 1.5 billion. As diseases are reduced or eliminated, the number of people needing and receiving treatment will obviously fall. Early detection of some neglected tropical diseases will allow more children to continue school and adults to work while reducing the costs associated with treating more advanced forms of these diseases.
:: Moving towards universal health coverage will ensure that all people have access to preventive and curative health services for neglected tropical diseases without the risk of financial hardship when paying for them.
:: Investing to overcome the impact of neglected tropical diseases – Third WHO report on neglected tropical diseases