WHO To Track Neglected Tropical Diseases In Africa

World Health Organization (WHO) says it has launched an online portal to enable health ministries in Africa access data on Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs).

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The WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, said on Tuesday that the portal would provide access to data on five most prevalent NTDs that respond to preventive chemotherapy.

Moeti said that the portal was created and designed to help countries meet the UN’s sustainable development goal 3.3, which aims to achieve NTD elimination by 2030.

According to her, with 39 per cent out of the 1.58 billion people globally affected by NTDs living in Africa, evidence-based decision making against the disease had become crucial to achieve progress.

“The World Health Organisation Regional Office for Africa has launched a new and improved version of its online portal, providing better access to more detailed country-specific data relating to Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) across Africa,” she said in a statement.

“Through the Expanded Special Project for Elimination of NTDs (ESPEN), the WHO Regional Office for Africa was able to make several improvements to its online portal.

“This user-friendly platform allows Ministries of Health and other users to access data on NTDs on a sub-national level identify specific areas where interventions are needed most.

“The in-depth, sub-national data provides an accurate picture of NTD prevalence across each country, enabling national NTD programs to make better-informed decisions and distribute resources most efficiently.

“Specifically, the ESPEN portal provides access to data on the five most prevalent NTDs that respond to preventive chemotherapy (PC-NTDs).

“Today, NTDs affect 1.58 billion people globally 39 per cent of whom live in Africa.

“These diseases are both preventable and treatable, yet they continue to cause severe disfigurement and other long-term disabilities that create obstacles to education, employment, economic growth and overall development.”

The regional director said that the portal would offer access to new interactive maps from 48 countries and downloadable data from 44 countries including annual reports, country master plans and epidemiology.