Jakarta: Delegates attending the virtual session of the Seventy-third World Health Assembly overwhelmingly endorsed the new road map for neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) for 2021−2030 on Thursday.
Ending the neglect to attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): a road map for neglected tropical diseases 2021–2030 sets out global targets and actions to align and re-focus the work of countries, partners and stakeholders during the next decade, including cross-cutting targets aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals.
"We now have the consensus and the commitment of every country to work in an integrated, cross-cutting manner in tackling all the neglected tropical diseases," said Dr Ren Minghui, WHO Assistant Director-General for Universal Health Coverage, Communicable and Noncommunicable Diseases, in a press release issued on Thursday.
"To do so effectively, and as drivers and beneficiaries, countries must change towards greater ownership of programmes. Smarter investments and high-level political commitment are required to reduce the social impact and economic consequences imposed by these diseases," the WHO official stated.
The road map, developed through an extensive global consultation, encourages a fundamental shift in approach from vertical disease programmes to cross-cutting approaches based on the needs of patients and communities.
"The new road map addresses critical gaps across multiple diseases, integrates and mainstreams approaches within national health systems and coordinates action across sectors," said Dr Mwelecele Ntuli Malecela, Director, WHO Department of Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases.
"It also provides us with opportunities to evaluate, assess and adjust programmatic actions as needed over the next decade," Malecela stated.
The road map sets global targets and milestone to prevent, control, eliminate and eradicate 20 neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) and disease groups.
By shifting away from single-disease vertical programmes to integrated approaches, it aims to promote improved coordination and collaboration.
Another distinct feature is to drive greater ownership by national and local governments, including communities.