The presence, or absence, of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) can be seen
as a proxy for poverty and for the success of interventions aimed at
Today, coverage of the public-health interventions recommended by the World
Health Organization (WHO) against NTDs may be interpreted as a proxy for
universal health coverage and shared prosperity – in short, a proxy for
coverage against neglect.
As the world’s focus shifts from development to sustainable development,
from poverty eradication to shared prosperity, and from disease-specific
goals to universal health coverage, control of NTDs will assume an important
role towards the target of achieving universal health coverage, including
individual financial risk protection. Success in overcoming NTDs is a
“litmus test” for universal health coverage against NTDs in endemic
The first WHO report on NTDs (2010) set the scene by presenting the evidence
for how these interventions had produced results. The second report (2013)
assessed the progress made in deploying them and detailed the obstacles to
their implementation. This third report analyses for the first time the
investments needed to achieve the scale up of implementation required to
achieve the targets of the WHO Roadmap on NTDs and universal coverage
INVESTING TO OVERCOME THE GLOBAL IMPACT OF NEGLECTED TROPICAL DISEASES
presents an investment strategy for NTDs and analyses the specific
investment case for prevention, control, elimination and eradication of 12
of the 17 NTDs. Such an analysis is justified following the adoption by the
Sixty-sixth World Health Assembly in 2013 of resolution WHA6612 on neglected
tropical diseases, which called for sufficient and predictable funding to
achieve the Roadmap’s targets and sustain control efforts.
The report cautions, however, that it is wise investment and not investment
alone that will yield success.
The report registers progress and challenges and signals those that lie
ahead. Climate change is expected to increase the spread of several vector-
borne NTDs, notably dengue, transmission of which is directly influenced by
temperature, rainfall, relative humidity and climate variability primarily
through their effects on the vector. Investments in vector-borne diseases
will avoid the potentially catastrophic expenditures associated with their
control. The presence of NTDs will thereby signal an early warning system
for climate-sensitive diseases.
The ultimate goal is to deliver enhanced and equitable interventions to the
most marginalized populations in the context of a changing public-health and
investment landscape to ensure that all peoples affected by NTDs have an
opportunity to lead healthier and wealthier lives.