Global Health Asia-Pacific Issue 2 | 2023 | Page 76

Deformed hand of a patient with leprosy .
Despite the disruption caused by the pandemic , the work on the central pillars of the 2030 road map has also advanced . became trachoma-free . Egypt and �emen have been verified to have eliminated lymphatic filariasis . Sudan has ramped up its M�A rollout for treating lymphatic filariasis , onchocerciasis , and trachoma . Moreover , the country has successfully achieved dracunculiasis transmission-free status due to its proactiveness in targeted health information messaging , infection containment measures , and improved water filtration .
2021 NTD ROAD MAP PILLARS The COVI�-1� pandemic disrupted the global NT� care landscape by prompting donors to reassess sponsorship priorities and adapt new working systems , thereby changing multi-dimensional funding mechanisms . Furthermore , the public health crises have reduced the implementation of communitybased interventions , restricted access to health facility-based services , and impaired the supply chain for NT�-based health products . �espite the disruption caused by the pandemic , the work on the central pillars of the 2030 road map has also advanced .
Intensifying programmatic action The WHO framework on NT� management encompasses promoting scientific progress , filling the gap in research-based knowledge , improving the quality of intervention and implementing innovative approaches to reducing the incidence , prevalence , morbidity , disability and fatalities due to NT�s . To achieve this target , WHO proposed numerous strategic and tactical recommendations such as equipping the healthcare system to handle N�T crises , innovation in NT� health programmes , prioritising support for refugees who are more prone to NT�s , mathematical modelling to predict COVI�-1� impact on NT� spread , and integrated vector management on NT�s with high outbreak potential .
The WHO prioritised continuous publications of NT�-related guidelines , strategic reports , and policy briefs to promote NT� awareness among local healthcare professionals and the public . Throughout the 2021-2022 period , publications output includes guidelines on the management and prevention of pork tapeworm , control and elimination of schistosomiasiscausing parasitic worms , manuals on insecticide resistance among mosquito vectors , and policy briefs on NT� rehabilitation , among others .
The WHO also signed seven Memorandum of �nderstanding ( MO� ) with pharmaceutical companies such as Novartis and �laxoSmith�line to ensure continuous donation of NT� medicines to localised NT� programmes . Investment in innovative research saw new medicinal products such as aco�iborole and treatment approaches like triple therapy developed to treat NT�s like African sleeping sickness . Moreover , pharmaceutical researchers worked to improve Fosravucona�ole , an antifungal drug used to treat fungal mycetoma that not only demonstrates high efficacy but also has the potential to reduce treatment duration , increase patient compliance , and be more cost-effective for the patient and treatment provider . Equally crucial is the constant development of NT� diagnostic techniques , as the continual decline in infection intensity and prevalence threatens to weaken the specificity and sensitivity of current diagnostic methods , hence impeding the delivery of proper healthcare to vulnerable populations .
Expanding cross-cutting strategies The NT� roadmap also focuses on increasing crosscutting approaches through integrated delivery of NT� interventions , incorporating NT� treatments in the national health systems to eventually transition to universal health coverage , and practising crosssectoral frameworks such as WASH , �lobal Vector Control Response 2017 � 2030 , and the WHO One Health platform .
The One Health platform is one of the significant components in the cross-sector coordination outlined in the road map . This �whole-of-system� approach involves planning between health ministries and relevant stakeholders to reduce the NT� burden . A notable example is reducing the burden of Chagas disease in �atin America through indoor insecticide spraying , improving house hygiene , and screening of blood donors to halt disease transmission via blood transfusion .
Global Arbovirus Initiative The global vector control response saw significant progress with the launch of the �lobal Arbovirus Initiative , designed to enhance the monitoring and control of insect-borne diseases and improve prevention , preparedness , and response to future outbreaks . The framework was devised in response to the increasing disease burden of two NT�s , dengue and chikungunya , due to climate change and expanding geographical distributions of mosquito vectors .
Sylvie Briand , WHO �irector of Pandemic and Epidemic �iseases , emphasised the importance
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