Control and elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases in the Western Pacific
Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are health issues in 28 countries and areas in the Western Pacific Region, causing suffering, usually among the poor, and impeding economic development.
In consultation with Member States and partners, WHO's Regional Office for the Western Pacific developed a Regional Action Plan for Neglected Tropical Diseases in the Western Pacific (2012-2016). The plan was endorsed by the sixty-third session of WHO's Regional Committee for the Western Pacific held from 24 to 28 September 2012 in Hanoi, Viet Nam.
The action plan sets targets to move towards elimination of lymphatic filariasis, schistosomiasis, trachoma, leprosy and yaws, and to reduce morbidity from soil-transmitted helminthiases and foodborne trematodiases. The key strategies to meet these targets include:
- strengthening political commitment, advocacy and resource mobilization;
- enhancing programme management and intersectoral collaboration;
- scaling up access to quality prevention and case management interventions;
- strengthening integrated surveillance, monitoring and evaluation;
- strengthening research.
For diseases such as lymphatic filariasis and leprosy, significant progress towards elimination has already been made, but it will take strong commitment and funding to "finish the job".
For the elimination of other NTDs, such as yaws and trachoma, a renewed effort is underway. For the reduction of the morbidity of soil transmitted helminths and food-borne trematodes, some countries have achieved high coverage with de-worming, while others still have to start activities.
It was agreed that there is a need for increased financial and human resources from endemic countries and areas, as well as from development partners. This is to ensure that all those with clinical disease have access to quality case management, even after elimination has been achieved, and all those at risk have access to safeguards such as preventive chemotherapy and safe water and sanitation.
Collaboration with other health and non-health programmes and sectors will be vital.