Neglected tropical diseases

Sixty-ninth World Health Assembly adopts resolution on mycetoma

Better tools needed to treat patients at peripheral levels


30 May 2016 | Geneva −− The 69th World Health Assembly, which ended last week, has adopted a resolution on mycetoma. This chronic, progressively destructive inflammatory disease of the skin usually affects the lower limbs. Infection is thought to be caused by the inoculation, through a thorn prick or skin damage, of fungi or bacteria into the subcutaneous tissue.

In his remarks during the adoption of the resolution, the representative of Niger, speaking on behalf of 47 countries that form part of WHO’s Africa Region, thanked all countries and organizations for their support and spoke of the need to develop better diagnostic tests.

Other countries, including Iraq, Kenya, the Republic of Korea, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Thailand, participated in the deliberations to support the resolution.

“This resolution gives a new dimension to advocate and collaborate with partners for improved surveillance and control” said Dr Dirk Engels, Director WHO Department of Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases. “Enhanced tools and strategies will enable health services to better manage cases at peripheral levels where they occur.”

Mycetoma is not transmitted from person to person.

“As is the case with many other neglected, poverty-related diseases, prevention and control interventions against mycetoma fail to reach all affected populations” said Dr Ren Minghui, WHO Assistant Director-General for HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases. “More should be done to lessen the impact on breadwinners; and children who drop out of school due to stigma.”

Japan, Switzerland and the United States of America, while stressing the importance of developing better diagnostic tools, acknowledged the work of WHO in developing the criteria and procedures to add future diseases to the category of neglected tropical diseases.1

The adoption of this resolution provides wider international recognition of the devastation posed by mycetoma and allows the global community to support research to develop better diagnostic methods and treatments to facilitate the implementation of control and surveillance measures in affected countries.

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1In January 2016, the 138th session of the Executive Board requested the Director-General “through the Neglected Tropical Diseases Strategic and Technical Advisory Group (NTD-STAG) to define a systematic, technically driven process for evaluation and potential inclusion of additional diseases among the “neglected tropical diseases”.


Ashok Moloo

WHO/HTM/NTD
Telephone: +41 22 791 1637
Mobile phone: +41 79 540 50 86
molooa@who.int

Further reading

World Health Assembly (WHA) Resolutions on Mycetoma