Expanded Special Project for Elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases (ESPEN)

The Burden of PC-NTDs in the AFRO Region

Of the 17 Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), 5 generate the greatest burden of disease in the AFRO region: Onchocerciasis, Lymphatic Filariasis, Schistosomiasis, Soil Transmitted Helminthes, and Trachoma.  Each of these diseases is amenable to Preventative Chemotherapy (PC-NTDS).   Every country in the region is co-endemic for at least two of these five NTDs, while 36 are co-endemic for all five.  In 2015, nearly 400 million people in the AFRO Region required PC treatment, including 285 million children under the age of 14 who required PC for Soil-Transmitted Helminthiasis.

About the programme

The five-year Expanded Special Project for Elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases (ESPEN) was launched in 2016 in response to these facts and following the end of the African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control (APOC). Hosted by the World Health Organization’s Regional Office for Africa (AFRO), ESPEN aims to provide national programmes on NTDs in the WHO African Region with the technical and fundraising support necessary to accelerate the control and elimination of five PC-NTDs with the greatest burden: Onchocerciasis, Lymphatic Filariasis, Schistosomiasis, Soil Transmitted Helminthes, and Trachoma. ESPEN contributes to ensuring that national NTD programmes have the data, expertise and financial resources needed to accelerate the fight against these diseases by coordinating partners and providing technical support.

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For more information about the ESPEN Programme please contact:

Dr Benido Impouma
Regional Adviser, Neglected Tropical Diseases/Disease Prevention and Control Cluster
Email: impoumab [at] who.int