Global Health Programs: Neglected Tropical Diseases
Where We Work
- American Samoa
- Central African Republic
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Dominican Republic
- Sri Lanka
- St. Lucia
For more than two decades, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been working to reduce the illness, disability, and death caused by NTDs. The goals related to NTDs under the Global Health Initiative (GHI) are to reduce the prevalence of seven NTDs by 50 percent among 70 percent of the affected population, and to contribute to the elimination of onchocerciasis in the Americas by 2016, and lymphatic filariasis globally by 2020. GHI goals also include the elimination of leprosy.
More than 1 billion people—one-sixth of the world’s population— suffer from one or more Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs). NTDs are a group of infectious diseases that are the source of tremendous suffering because of their disfiguring, debilitating, and sometimes deadly impact. With our partners, CDC helps to inform global policy and guidelines for NTD control programs and conducts research to improve diagnostic and other tools needed to monitor programs. A team of scientists provides technical assistance to countries and other partners to build capacity, improve programs, and monitor and evaluate progress towards elimination/control of NTDs such as lymphatic filariasis (LF) and onchocerciasis. For example, studies conducted by CDC and partners on LF demonstrated that mass treatment with drugs is a safe and effective way to control and eliminate NTDs.
In addition, CDC and its partners helped to draft the World Health Organization (WHO) monitoring and evaluation guidelines that will be used in countries to assess progress of initiatives. CDC develops and evaluates new tools and approaches to control and eliminate onchocerciasis, LF, and schistosomiasis. These tools are being used by several countries, including the People’s Republic of China, Morocco, and Togo, to document progress and achievement of program goals. Most recently, CDC researchers demonstrated that LF health education campaigns and morbidity control programs in India can increase adherence with Mass Drug Administration (MDA) for LF by as much as 40%.
Public Health Impact
- Since 2000, more than two billion treatments targeting lymphatic filariasis have been delivered, reaching people in 48 of the 81 countries where the disease is common.
- Working collaboratively with global partners, CDC has assisted in the elimination of onchocerciasis in 7 of the 13 major areas where the infection was being transmitted in the Americas, and the debilitating blindness it causes has been prevented throughout much of sub-Saharan Africa.
- Guinea worm disease affected some 3.5 million people in the 1980s, but in 2009 only 3,200 cases were reported.