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Big progress against neglected tropical diseases - report

Wednesday April 19th, 2017

A billion people a year are now being treated for "neglected" tropical diseases, it was announced today.

The world has made "record-breaking" progress in tackling diseases such as sleeping sickness and elephantiasis, according to the World Health Organisation.

WHO says achieving global targets for clean water and sanitation will be the key to further progress. Some 2.4 billion people lack basic sanitation while more than 660 million continue to drink untreated water.

It says the key to success was a meeting in 2007 bringing together local and international partners.

Its report says some 556 million people have received prophylactic treatment against elephantiasis - lymphatic filariasis - in 2015.

Just 25 cases of Guinea-worm disease were reported in that year while there were just 3,000 cases of sleeping sickness - human African trypanosomiasis - compared with 37,000 new cases in 1999.

The Americas had sought to eliminate rabies by 2015 - although there were still 12 human deaths from the disease that year.

WHO director-general Dr Margaret Chan said: “WHO has observed record-breaking progress towards bringing ancient scourges like sleeping sickness and elephantiasis to their knees.

“Over the past ten years, millions of people have been rescued from disability and poverty, thanks to one of the most effective global partnerships in modern public health."

Tags: General Health | World Health

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