By Sharon Atieno

In gearing up for this year’s Neglected Tropical Diseases Day, on 30th January, the World Health Organization (WHO) is set to launch a new roadmap for the next decade.

Ending the neglect to attain the Sustainable Development Goals: a road map for neglected tropical diseases 2021–2030 is a high-level strategic document aimed at strengthening programmatic response to neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) and focuses on how cross-sectoral, integrated interventions, smart investment and community engagement can strengthen and sustain health systems.

Rabies, Leprosy, Chagas disease, Dengue and Chikungunya among other NTDs, affect one out of five people in the world, primarily those living in extreme poverty. Of the 1.58 billion people impacted, an estimated 40% live in the WHO African region.

NTDs -afflict the most destitute, vulnerable, and neglected populations- causing severe pain, disabilities, deformities, malnutrition, stunted growth, cognitive impairment, social isolation, and humiliation as well as inability to work and go to school. Moreover, they claim 170,000 lives yearly.

The World NTDs Day brings together civil society advocates, community leaders, global health experts and policymakers working across the diverse NTD landscape, and unifies partners behind common goals: to Face NTDs and #EndTheNeglect. This year’s World NTD day is supported by 230 partners from diverse countries and sectors.

30th January marks the anniversary of the 2021 London Declaration on NTDs which brought together partners across sectors, countries and disease communities to push for greater investment action on NTDs.