Malawi, Vanuatu and Uganda were among the eight nations that eliminated a neglected tropical disease last year, according to a World Health Organization (WHO) report. That takes the number of countries that have done so since the late 1990s to almost 50, with 11 banishing more than one disease.
“That’s a tremendous effort,” says Francisca Mutapi, a global-health specialist at the University of Edinburgh, UK. The latest WHO report comes two years after the agency released a plan to control or eliminate neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) by 2030.
NTDs are a group of around 20 conditions that affect more than one billion people worldwide but have been largely overlooked by global health agendas. The diseases generally affect people living in impoverished communities and can be caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites or toxins.
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