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.
On 28 May 2016, the 69th World Health Assembly approved a resolution recognizing mycetoma as a neglected tropical disease.
The resolution also provides for a systematic, technically-driven process for evaluation and potential inclusion of additional diseases among the neglected tropical diseases.
This is in recognition of the fact that there are still many tropical, poverty-related diseases or conditions that remain neglected and for which advocacy, awareness and research are required to develop better diagnostic methods, treatments and control strategies.