Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD)

The Burden of Neglected Tropical Diseases in the AFRO Region

Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) encompass 17 bacterial, parasitic and viral diseases that prevail in tropical and subtropical conditions and affect more than 1 billion people worldwide.  An estimated 40% of impacted people live in the WHO African Region (which includes 47 Member States).  NTDs are recognized as a public health problem for poor populations living in tropical environments and difficult-to-access areas.  Communities inhabiting rural areas, urban slums and conflict zones are the most severely impacted by NTDs. 

About the programme

The NTD Programme at AFRO provides technical orientation, support and guidance to Member States in the WHO African region to contribute to the accelerated prevention, control, elimination and eradication of NTDs and Neglected Zoonoses. The objectives of the Programme’s 2014-2020 strategic plan are to scale up access to NTD-related interventions; enhance planning for results, resource mobilization and financial sustainability of national NTD programmes; strengthen advocacy, coordination and national ownership; and enhance monitoring, evaluation, surveillance and research.

While the Expanded Special Project for Elimination of NTDs (ESPEN) focuses on five PC-NTDs, the Regional NTD Programme is in charge of Coordination, Ownership of National Programmes and Partnership; Planning, Advocacy and Resource mobilisation; as well as, Scaling up Rapid Impact Interventions for case management NTDs (CM-NTDs) which include: Buruli ulcer, Guinea worm disease, Human African Trypanosomiasis, Leishmaniasis, Leprosy and Yaws.  Progress is being made in tackling these CM-NTDS, especially through implementation of guidance documents of the CM-NTD integrated strategy promoted by the Regional NTD Programme. From 2013 to 2015 number of cases of Buruli ulcer, HAT and Leprosy reduced respectively from 2,543 to 1,857 cases (Buruli ulcer), from 6,314 to 2,703 cases (HAT) and from 26,499 to 25,682 cases (leprosy); giving a reduction of over 5,000 cases within 3 years for these three diseases. For dracunculiasis, which is targeted for eradication, only 4 countries (Chad, Ethiopia, Mali and South Sudan) remain endemic. However, Mali has not reported a case since November 2015.


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For more information about the Programme please contact:

Dr. Alexandre Tiendrebeogo
a.i. NTD Team Leader
Email: tiendrebeogoa [at]