The burden of NTDs across the globe is extensive. They cause widespread mortality and inflict suffering by causing life-long disabilities, impairments, reduced economic productivity, social stigma and the resulting social exclusion.
Effective control and prevention of disabilities associated with the NTDs can be achieved when several public health approaches are combined. Improved access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) is an example of a key intervention within the global NTD roadmap. It is critical in the prevention and the provision of care for the majority of the NTDs, especially for trachoma, STHs, schistosomiasis and dracunculiasis. Furthermore, the recent increases in medicine donations by the pharmaceutical industry have allowed a scale-up of interventions, increasing access to high-quality medicines free of charge for hundreds of millions of people worldwide. For example, ENVISION has received nearly 6 billion dollar worth of drugs donated by pharmaceutical companies in 2015 and therefore, could support Mass Drug Administration (MDA) programs that target multiple NTDs at once, including lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis, schistosomiasis, soil-transmitted helminthiasis and trachoma.
That is why InfoNTD focuses on integral approaches of 14 NTDs and related public health problems. The focus is not on medical symptoms, but rather aspects common to all or many NTDs, like treatment aspects, assessment, and social, economic and human rights issues. The cross-cutting aspects include subjects like disability, community-based and other forms of rehabilitation, advocacy and empowerment, as well as ways of prevention like WASH-related interventions.
NTD NGO Network Cross-cutting Groups
The Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) NGO Network (NNN) is a global forum for NGOs to contribute to the global control, elimination, and management of consequences of NTDs outlined within the internationally agreed World Health Organisation NTD Roadmap. Since inception, NNN has been uniquely positioned to identify common themes and develop cross-cutting approaches.
In this, NNN has anticipated the shifts towards integration, coordination and health system strengthening being adopted by WHO and many funders, and has strong, cross-cutting groups in many key areas, including WASH, Disease Management, Disability & Inclusion, Sustainable systems, One Health, Skin-related NTDs, and Conflict & Humanitarian Settings.
Check out their website to find more information on the NNN and their cross-cutting groups.