January 30 now 'World Neglected Tropical Diseases Day’
- Delegates at the 74th World Health Assembly unanimously adopted a proposal by the United Arab Emirates to declare January 30 as ‘World Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) Day’.
- It was on this day that the London Declaration on NTDs was adopted, January 30, 2012.
- The first World NTD Day was celebrated informally in 2020.
Neglected Tropical Diseases
- They are infections that are most common among marginalised communities in the developing regions of Africa, Asia and the Americas.
- They are caused by a variety of pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, protozoa and parasitic worms.
- They generally receive less funding for research and treatment than malaises like tuberculosis, HIV-AIDS and malaria.
- Some examples include snakebite envenomation, scabies, yaws, trachoma, Leishmaniasis and Chagas disease.
The WHO’s new road map for 2021–2030 calls for three strategic shifts to end NTDs:
- From the measuring process to measuring impact.
- From disease-specific planning and programming to collaborative work across sectors.
- From externally driven agendas reliant to programmes that are country-owned and country-financed.
Policies on neglected diseases research in India:
- The National Health Policy (2017):
- It sets an ambition to stimulate innovation to meet health needs and ensure that new drugs are affordable for those who need them most, but it does not specifically tackle neglected diseases.
- The National Policy on Treatment of Rare Diseases (2018):
- It includes infectious tropical diseases and identifies a need to support research on treatments for rare diseases.
- It has not yet prioritised diseases and areas for research funding or how innovation would be supported.