Every year on January 30th, the world celebrates World Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) Day, an initiative launched by the World Health Organization (WHO) to raise awareness about NTDs and their impact on the world’s most vulnerable populations. NTDs are a group of diseases that affect more than 1 billion people globally, and are the leading cause of death and disability in many low- and middle-income countries.
NTDs are called “neglected” because they receive limited attention and funding, despite their significant impact on public health and economic development. These diseases include river blindness, elephantiasis, dengue, and leprosy, among others. They are caused by a variety of pathogens, including bacteria, viruses, and parasites, and are transmitted through contaminated water, soil, and insects.
On World NTDs Day, the WHO and its partners around the world raise awareness about NTDs and the urgent need for action to control and eliminate them. This year’s theme, “End the Neglect”, highlights the need to scale up efforts to address NTDs, and ensure that everyone, everywhere has access to the medicines, diagnostics, and vaccines they need to stay healthy and productive.
The WHO and its partners have made significant progress in the fight against NTDs in recent years. Through mass drug administration campaigns, vector control measures, and increased investment in research and development, NTDs have been successfully controlled or eliminated in many countries. However, much work remains to be done to reach the goal of controlling or eliminating at least 10 NTDs by 2020, as outlined in the WHO’s Roadmap for NTDs.
The inaugural World NTD Day was observed on January 30, 2020. The United Arab Emirates proposed that the day be recognised (UAE). The World Health Assembly’s 74th session approved a resolution designating January 30 as World Neglected Tropical Diseases Day (‘World NTD Day’). On January 30, 2012, World NTD Day honours the simultaneous release of the first NTD road map and the London Declaration on NTDs. This is a fresh beginning for nations where neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are widespread, as well as for the worldwide community of partners.