The London Declaration on NTDs
The London Declaration on NTDs resulted from a summit held in 2012 by Uniting to Combat NTDs. It is a pledge made by governments, donor agencies, pharmaceutical companies, research institutions, non-governmental organisations, and other stakeholders in the international health community to collaborate in their efforts stop NTDs. The Declaration defined a number of goals and deliverables which were set to be achieved by the year 2020.
The London Declaration marked a pivotal moment in the fight against NTDs, as it created awareness of these previously neglected diseases and momentum for control programmes. The Declaration catalysed a significant increase in funding, advocacy, and expertise dedicated to NTD control.
WHO NTD Guidelines
In its 2012 Roadmap for Implementation to control of NTDs, the WHO recommended the following strategies as having the greatest impact on control:
- Preventive chemotherapy - Mass drug administration (MDA) is currently one of the most important tools available in the control of NTDs. It is especially useful against helminthiases (lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis, schistosomiasis, and soil-transmitted helminths) because safe, effective, and single-dose medicines are donated by pharmaceutical companies for use on the global scale.
- Intensified disease management - Morbidity of many NTDs is easily reduced with currently available treatment and disease management. Patients experience improved outcomes if they are diagnosed and treated quickly, making case-detection and clinical management essential to NTD control.
- Vector and intermediate host control - Vectors and intermediate hosts play a role in propagating NTDs and controlling them (e.g. using molluscicide on intermediate snail hosts of schistosomes) can help to control transmission.
- Veterinary public health at the human-animal interface - Animals are integral to the transmission of NTDs, often acting as a reservoir for disease. Providing veterinary public health and ensuring that people reduce potentially transmissive contact with animals is important.
- Provision of safe water, sanitation, and hygiene - The spread of many NTDs is partly or fully facilitated by poor hygiene practices and lack of safe drinking water. Providing safe water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) can limit disease spread and curb morbidity of NTDs.
All of these strategies are important in the control of NTDs, but using them in conjunction is essential to breaking transmission and eventually to elimination of NTDs. Studying the effectiveness of these interventions in different contexts gives us more information with which to predict the best possible disease control methods available.