WHO claims unprecedented progress against neglected tropical diseases

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Geneva, April 20 (IANS) Remarkable achievements have been made in tackling neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) since 2007 with one billion people receiving treatment in 2015 alone, World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday in a report.

"WHO has observed record-breaking progress towards bringing ancient scourges like sleeping sickness and elephantiasis to their knees," Xinhua news agency quoted WHO Director-General Margaret Chan, as saying.

The WHO report, Integrating Neglected Tropical Diseases in Global Health and Development, demonstrates how strong political support, generous donations of medicines, improvements in living conditions, have led to sustained expansion of disease control programmes in countries where these diseases are most prevalent.

The report documented one billion people treated for at least one neglected tropical disease in 2015 alone as one of key achievements against NTDs.

However, the report highlighted the need to further scale up action in other areas.

"Further gains in the fight against neglected tropical diseases will depend on wider progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals," said Dirk Engels, Director of the Department of Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases.

WHO estimated that 2.4 billion people still lack basic sanitation facilities such as toilets and latrines, while more than 660 million continue to drink water from "unimproved" sources, such as surface water.

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