|Global Plan to Combat Neglected Tropical Diseases, 2008–2015|
Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) and zoonoses are a devastating obstacle to human settlement and socioeconomic development of already impoverished communities.
A growing body of evidence demonstrates that control of these diseases can contribute directly to achievement of several Millennium Development Goals.
Interventions against NTDs and zoonoses have already benefited millions of people, protecting them from physical pain, disability and poverty. Over the past decades, the World Health Organization (WHO), together with its partners, has formulated an innovative strategy to ensure cost-effective, ethical and sustainable control towards elimination or eradication of several NTDs. The strategy encompasses the following components:
The "tool-ready" category of diseases is those for which powerful and inexpensive control tools are currently available and for which well-developed implementation strategies are immediately feasible. Large-scale use of safe and single-dose medicines (preventive chemotherapy) makes their control, prevention and possible elimination more feasible than ever before.
The major tasks for control of the tool-ready diseases are to expand coverage of packaged preventive chemotherapy interventions in order to access hard-to-reach populations at risk with innovative delivery systems and to continue regular treatment.
Current control strategies for the "tool-deficient" diseases rely on costly and difficult-to-manage tools. For most of those diseases, early detection and treatment are vital to avoid irreversible disability or death. There is urgent need to develop simple, safe and cost-effective tools and to make them accessible. Such innovative tools will drastically alter the existing control strategies.
The opportunities presented by an intersectoral and interprogrammatic approach and its successful use in many settings show that such a synergistic approach improves cost-effectiveness and ensures that all necessary treatments are simultaneously delivered to neglected populations who nearly always suffer from several overlapping diseases linked to poverty.
The Global Plan aims to translate this strategy into reality.
Principles for Action
The Global Plan has been formulated according to the following key principles:
The major challenges for controlling NTDs and zoonoses are:
Goal and Targets, 2008–2015
The goal of the Global Plan is to prevent, control, eliminate or eradicate NTDs.
The targets for the plan period 2008–2015 are:
Strategic Areas for Action
The Global Plan has nine strategic areas, each of which proposes a series of actions to meet specific targets during 2008–2015. The strategic areas are:
Framework for Implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation
Prior to 2008, a committee will be set up for successful implementation and operationalization of the Global Plan. Member States, WHO Collaborating Centers for NTDs, other relevant international partners and the WHO Secretariat will be part of a Steering Committee that monitors implementation and reviews progress.
Regional Office for the Americas of the World Health Organization