In excess of a billion people throughout the world are at risk from neglected tropical illnesses that the World Health Organization unveiled a 10-year plan to combat last year.

That effort is being supported by WHO contributions, which have already achieved remarkable results.

There has been success in eliminating sleeping sickness also known as trypanosomiasis, as a public health problem in five African countries, and this has been notwithstanding the pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A total of more than 20 neglected tropical diseases have been identified by the WHO, and the vast majority of those affected live in areas without regular access to appropriate sanitation, basic health infrastructure, or health services. Displaced citizens within their own country are among the most vulnerable.

One of the two varieties of sleeping sickness has been eliminated as a public health hazard in Benin, Uganda, and Rwanda after years of effort and backing from WHO.

In Africa’s rural poor, tsetse flies have long carried a disease that threatens human life.

Detectable cases of sleeping sickness declined from more than 25 000 in 2000 to 750 between 2000 and 2021 as a result of the WHO’s 2001 campaign to strengthen surveillance and control of the disease.

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