WHO: 200 thousand preventable deaths per year from neglected diseases

WHO: 200 thousand preventable deaths per year from neglected diseases

One billion people infected every year, 1.62 billion people who need treatment and preventive measures, 200 thousand avoidable deaths every year. These are some of the numbers relating to neglected tropical diseases released today by the World Health Organization on the occasion of the World Day dedicated to these pathologies.

Neglected tropical diseases

Neglected tropical diseases are a heterogeneous group of pathologies caused by a variety of pathogens (viruses, bacteria, parasites). From dengue to sleeping sickness, from leprosy to poisoning from snake bites, what they have in common is above all the fact that they are “almost absent from the global health agenda”, explains the WHO. These pathologies, continues the WHO, “thrive especially in rural areas, in conflict zones and in difficult-to-reach regions, in areas where access to clean water and sanitation services is poor. Furthermore, they tend to affect regions lacking quality healthcare”.

Under-funded pathologies

The WHO underlines that there remains a situation of under-funding for these pathologies. This happens precisely at a time when new challenges are opening up, such as climate change which is expanding the spread of neglected tropical diseases, especially those spread by vectors.

Nonetheless, major progress was made last year with 50 countries around the world eliminating at least one neglected disease. “We must step up our collective action, address the deeply rooted inequalities that fuel these diseases, and make bold and sustainable investments to ensure a future where neglected tropical diseases are no longer a public health concern,” said Ibrahima Socé Fall, director of the WHO program dedicated to these pathologies.

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