Can we control the NTDs? The new road map for NTDs 2021-2030 emphasizes the need for an integrated approach to these diseases from a multi-sectoral and inter-disciplinary approach.
Controlling, eliminating, and even eradicating NTDs is an endurance race. Organizations and governments working to stop these diseases from affecting millions of people are aware of the difficulties that managing them involves. Even so, various recent investigations and positive experiences show that NTDs are easier to combat if we draw up integrated strategies for all of them.
The medium-term challenges to control NTDs
In order to optimize resources and design joint strategies that are effective in the medium term, the following factors need to be taken into account:
- It is necessary to train healthcare professionals specializing in different kinds of NTDs. For visible skin diseases, for example, it is essential that healthcare providers receive basic dermatological training. Furthermore, the training of healthcare professionals is fundamental in order for them to gain the trust and acceptance of the population affected by NTDs.
- When it comes to planning strategies, it is important to identify opportunities beyond NTDs, such as integration with tuberculosis programmes, WASH, and non-transmissible diseases. This could open the door to the detection of new cases. Exploring the possibility of integration with poverty-reduction programmes could be another key measure.
- In order to overcome the problems relating to Neglected Healthcare, it is essential to secure the co-operation of governments, research centres, academic centres, NGOs, pharmaceutical companies, and other organizations working in countries and communities affected by NTDs.