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How COVID has affected the control of neglected tropical diseases – Global issues

Tropical diseases are collectively a general term used to describe a group of 20 infectious diseases.  These diseases affect more than 1.7 billion people.  -
A case of progressive liver disease (hepatomegaly) due to schistosomiasis in a 5-year-old child. Professor Takafira Mduluza
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In the past, diseases in this group were ignored internationally and poorly funded domestically: hence the name “neglected”. Some common neglected tropical diseases are Ulcers Buruli, Dengue and Hansen’s disease (also known as leprosy).

Had tools for prevention and treatment these diseases. These include medications, vector control, veterinary public health interventions, and the provision of safe water and toilets.

Over the past 10 years, there have been significant efforts globally to control neglected tropical diseases. In 2012, pharmaceutical companies, donors, endemic countries and NGOs came together to sign London Declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases. Together they pledge to control, eliminate or eliminate these 10 diseases by 2020 and improve the lives of more than a billion people.

Support from the signatories ranges from Donate essential medicines sponsor delivery and distribution medicines, research and funding for sanitation and safe water. These concerted global efforts have yielded successes and are the basis for optimism.

Now, 600 million won People no longer claim treatment for neglected tropical diseases. Cases of some of these diseases, such as leprosy, sleeping sickness and Guinea worm disease, are at all-time lows. Forty-four nation has eliminated at least one neglected tropical disease as a public health concern. Most recent Gambia and Saudi Arabia eliminated trachoma, a bacterial infection that causes blindness.

However, this progress is actually in danger of being reversed due to Pandemic caused by covid-19. Drug programs have been disrupted, health budgets are prioritized again, and aid has been cut.

Like I have previously marked, disrupting control programs can lead to a resurgence of infection and disease. These things can be worse than the original. This is an impending reality for neglected tropical diseases if control programs are not resumed quickly enough.

Disrupted disease control

One of the most important tools to use against neglected tropical diseases is national mass drug management. This involves treating every member of the population, regardless of their infection status, because treatment is cheaper than diagnostic and safe drugs.

Typically, national treatment programs are annual events conducted at schools or medical centers. It takes time, effort, and money to plan and implement these programs. And it’s important to stay motivated. Every dollar spent on these programs provides a substantial return on investment. This is why neglected tropical disease control has been called “Best Buy” in development.

The pandemic has affected the control of neglected tropical disease in three ways.

First, mass drug management is stop or be interrupted equal lockdown and social distancing policies. And disruptions in global trade and shipping have impacted supply chains. Recently Survey of the World Health Organization indicates that, as of early 2021, disruptions in neglected tropical disease control programs have occurred in 44% of countries.

Second, national governments in neglected tropical disease endemic countries have low health budgets. Change priorities during and after COVID-19 means that resources allocated to neglected tropical diseases can be diverted other diseases and medical services.

Third, a significant amount of funding for neglected tropical disease control programs comes from international development partners and foreign governments.

The post-COVID-19 economic slowdown of their economies and shifts in funding priorities are threatening gains in the control of neglected tropical diseases. For example, England recently withdrew more than £150 million in funding for neglected tropical disease programs as part of cuts to the country’s aid budget.

This wipe one-third of donor funding to tackle neglected tropical diseases, with impact on treatments 250 million people and up to 180,000 surgeries to prevent disability.

Long-term consequences

Continued neglect of these diseases will have serious consequences. Those affected continue to suffer from devastating diseases, health-related inequalities and cycles of poverty. The effects of these diseases are pervasive and widespread.

As long as neglected tropical diseases pose a huge burden on health systems in endemic countries, these countries will continue to drain resources, finances, and lives for those affected by the disease. this disease. This will further weaken their health systems, affecting their ability to promptly monitor, detect and prevent the next outbreak.

Are from Global Health Security Agenda, we know that a weakened health system anywhere in the world compromises health security globally. Local health security is fundamental to global health security, as COVID-19 has demonstrated.

The opportunity to bring global attention back to neglected tropical diseases will come later this year when the London Declaration is replaced by Declaration of Kigali. This high-level political declaration, led by Rwanda and Nigeria, aims to mobilize political will and secure commitments to achieve Sustainable Development Goals Goals for these diseases.

It is important to remember that controlling neglected tropical diseases is in the best interest of all countries – those with endemic diseases and those without.Conversation

Francisca MutapiProfessor of Global Health Immunology and Infection. and co-director of the Academy of Global Health, University of Edinburgh

This article was republished from Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read original article.

© Inter Press Service (2022) – All rights reservedOrigin: Inter Press Service

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