Neglected tropical diseases

Sixty-ninth session of the World Health Assembly gets underway

24 May 2016 | Geneva −− The 69th session of the World Health Assembly (WHA) opened today at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. The current session’s President is the Health Minister of Oman, Ahmed Mohammed Al-Saidi.

In her speech to the plenary session in the afternoon, WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan spoke of the health challenges that include air pollution, antimicrobial resistance, the refugee crisis in Europe, Ebola, Mers coronavirus, Zika and the appearance of yellow-fever in Africa.

The NTD-led WHA 69 exhibit at the Palais des Nations features unprecedented success of WHO’s guinea-worm disease and polio eradication in 2015.
With 22 and 74 cases respectively, both diseases have never been so close to eradication

Dracunculiasis eradication: eternal vigilance is the price of liberty

13 May 2016 | Geneva −− As human cases of dracunculiasis plummet, the International Commission for the Certification of Dracunculiasis Eradication (ICCDE) is considering the introduction of a global cash reward to speed up the certification of all countries. This includes those with no previous history of the disease.

During its 11th meeting, the ICCDE also considered the outcome of a scientific meeting convened by WHO to discuss D. medinensis infection in dogs.


New global strategy seeks accelerated efforts to end leprosy

20 April 2016 | Geneva -- WHO has called for accelerated efforts and stronger commitments to stop the transmission of leprosy and do away with associated discrimination and stigma.

A new global leprosy strategy Accelerating towards a leprosy-free-world launched today builds on the principle of inclusivity and focuses on early detection of cases with improved access to health care coverage for marginalized populations.

©Ed Hanley
A young girl with a classic leprosy rash undergoing treatment in the very early stages of infection

Lowest caseload recorded as the world prepares to defeat sleeping sickness

16 April 2016 | Geneva −− Novel medicines, better diagnostic tools and improved vector control methods are need to achieve enhanced surveillance of the gambiense form of sleeping sickness (human African trypanosomiasis) amid record low levels of cases recorded in 2015.

The World Health Organization targets the elimination of this commonest form of the disease as a 'public health problem' by 2020.

© A. Ybarra Zavala/Getty images
Novel medicines and diagnostic tools: crucial to eliminating sleeping sickness

Commission applauds historic decline in human cases of guinea-worm disease

30 March 2016 | Geneva −− The International Commission for the Certification of Dracunculiasis Eradication (ICCDE) has acknowledged the unprecedented decline in the number of dracunculiasis (guinea-worm disease) cases as a ‘major public health achievement’.
In 2015, only 22 human cases, representing a remarkable 83% reduction, were reported to WHO, compared with 126 in 2014.
The Commission fully supported focused research aimed at resolving infections occurring in animals, particularly among dogs.

WHO team during surveillance mission in a village, South Sudan.

WHO Vector Control Advisory Group recommendations for emergency response and preparedness for Zika virus

18 March 2016 | Geneva −− Following the outbreak of Zika virus disease in many parts of the world, the WHO Advisory Group on Vector Control (VCAG) held an extraordinary meeting on 14−15 March in Geneva, Switzerland to review five potential vector control tools and existing tools.

© C. Simon/Getty Images

WHO Vector Control Advisory Group emergency meeting deliberates vector control tools

14 March 2016 | Geneva –– A two-day emergency meeting of the Vector Control Advisory Group (VCAG) is discussing the use of new vector control tools.

The meeting also groups together innovators who are scheduled to provide evidence gathered from diverse conditions.

A position statement is expected at the end of the meeting.

© Oswaldo Cruz Institute

WHO urges increased access to praziquantel as schistosomiasis treatment coverage improves

16 February 2016 | Geneva –– The World Health Organization (WHO) is urging countries to implement WHO recommendations on treating all peoples affected by schistosomiasis (bilharzia), beyond the traditional target of treating only school-age children.
Scaled up interventions have significantly improved global coverage of treatment among school-children and other at-risk groups.

School-aged children queueing up for treatment in Nairobi, Kenya
©I. Prondzynski

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.