Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are a group of parasitic and bacterial diseases that cause substantial illness for more than one billion people globally. Populations living in poverty, without adequate sanitation and in close contact with infectious vectors and domestic animals and livestock are those worst affected. NTDs impair physical and cognitive development, contribute to mother and child illness and death, make it difficult to farm or earn a living, and limit productivity in the workplace.

Diseases, considered as NTDs

The following six NTDs can be controlled or even eliminated through mass administration of safe and effective medicines (mass drug administration, or MDA), or other, effective interventions:

  • Dracunculiasis (Guinea Worm Disease)

  • Lymphatic Filariasis

  • Onchocerciasis

  • Schistosomiasis

  • Soil-transmitted Helminths (STH) (i.e., Ascaris, Hookworm, and Whipworm)

  • Trachoma

Controlling the vectors (e.g., mosquitoes, black flies) that transmit these diseases and improving basic water, sanitation, and hygiene are highly effective strategies against these NTDs.

Provision of safe water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) is a key intervention within the global NTD roadmap, as it is critical in the prevention and the provision of care for all neglected tropical diseases.

The potential of this intervention needs to be fully tapped if WHO’s NTD roadmap targets are to be met. WASH is especially needed where transmission is most closely linked to poor conditions for diseases such as the soil-transmitted helminthiases, schistosomiasis, trachoma and lymphatic filariasis.


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