September 26, 2020

WHO urges Caribbean to increase investment to tackle tropical diseases

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WHOO_313300401From Antigua Observer

GENEVA, Feb 20, CMC – The World Health Organization (WHO) is urging Caribbean countries to increase their investments in the fight against neglected tropical diseases.

WHO said that this would improve the health and well-being of the population and that this investment would represent as little as 0.1 per cent of current domestic expenditure on health in affected low- and middle-income countries for the period 2015-2030.

WHO noted that in the Americas, including the Caribbean, more than 100 million people suffer from one or more neglected infectious diseases, including Chagas, leprosy, malaria, blinding trachoma, and soil-transmitted helminths.

These infections cause blindness, disfigurement, disabilities and even death, especially among people living in poverty, said WHO in a new report, “Investing to Overcome the Impact of Neglected Tropical Diseases”.

The report outlines an investment case and essential interventions to combat these diseases.
The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said it is providing technical cooperation to its member countries to control and advance toward the elimination of several of these same diseases.
“These diseases can be eliminated, and many of them can be addressed through low-cost, integrated actions,” said Marcos Espinal, Director of PAHO’s Department of Communicable Diseases and Health Analysis.

Espinal said a total of 10 diseases have been targeted for elimination in the Americas between 2015 and 202 and that these goals were set by PAHO’s Directing Council in 2009 in alignment with WHOs 2015-2020 roadmap for tackling neglected tropical diseases.

“Sustained commitment and investment by governments, as well as the support of international agencies and other partners, continue to be key for controlling and eliminating these diseases,” said Luis Gerardo Castellanos, PAHO’s senior advisor on prevention and control of infectious diseases.

PAHO said Antigua and Barbuda, the Dominican Republic, Guadalupe, Martinique, Montserrat, and Puerto Rico “may have eliminated transmission of schistosomiasis, and St. Lucia and Suriname are close to elimination”.

Costa Rica, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago were struck from the list of countries with endemic lymphatic filariasis in 2011, said PAHO, adding that more than seven million people were treated for this disease in 2013, most of them in Haiti.

Of the millions of people at risk of infectious neglected diseases in Latin America and the Caribbean, PAHO said many are receiving “safe and effective treatment through mass administration of medications for five diseases – lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis, blinding trachoma, soil-transmitted helminths and schistosomiasis”.

For more on this story go to: http://antiguaobserver.com/who-urges-caribbean-to-increase-investment-to-tackle-tropical-diseases/

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