Neglected tropical diseases are a group of parasitic and bacterial infectious diseases that affect more than 1.5 billion of the world’s most impoverished people, including 836 million children. Over 40% of the global NTD burden is concentrated in sub-Saharan Africa.
NTDs rank among the four most devastating groups of communicable diseases.
In Rwanda, the most common neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are schistosomiasis, soil-transmitted helminthiasis (STH), elephantiasis, taeniasis/ cysticercosis, podoconiosis and scabies and ectoparasites (Tungiasis) among others.
In order to contain devastating effects of such diseases, the World Health Organization (WHO) convened a summit aimed at ratifying ten-year plan (2021-2030) to end suffering from neglected tropical diseases.
A new World Health Organization (WHO) road map for neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) proposes ambitious targets and innovative approaches to tackle 20 diseases which affect more than a billion mainly poor people and which thrive in areas where access to quality health service.
The overarching 2030 global targets including reducing by 90% the number of people requiring treatment for NTDs , at least 100 countries to have eliminated at least one NTD, eradicate two diseases (dracunculiasis and yaws), reduce by 75% the disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) related to NTs, clean water and sanitation is scarce.
As he attended the launch of new 10-year plan to end suffering from neglected tropical diseases, President Kagame thanked WHO for introducing the plan highlighting that such diseases must be eradicated at all cost.
“These diseases cause pain and long-term disability. They also prevent children from reaching their full potential, both cognitively and physically. So it is very important that international community is rallying around this agenda for a decade of action, to attain the Sustainable Development Goals,” he said.
Kagame explained that integrating NTD medication into the national supply chain, down to the community level has the driving force for Rwanda to eliminate some of these diseases.
He also stressed need for domestic financing for the continent to combat the diseases.
“Investing in health is very good value for money. In this regard, allow me to stress the importance of increasing domestic financing for health, especially in Africa,” he said.
“Domestic health financing is a priority for the African Union, and progress is being tracked across member states on an annual basis,” added Kagame.