Neglected Tropical Diseases

Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are a diverse group of communicable diseases that prevail in tropical and subtropical conditions in 149 countries and affect more than one billion people, costing developing economies billions of dollars every year. 

These diseases are named "neglected" because they persist exclusively in the poorest and the most marginalized populations living without adequate sanitation and in close contact with infectious vectors and domestic animals and livestock.

NTDs stigmatize, disable and inhibit individuals from being able to care for themselves or their families - all of which promote poverty, most of these individuals live on less than US$1.25 per day. These diseases are found in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Pacific Island nations. Individuals living in remote areas with limited access to effective health care are most vulnerable to NTDs and their consequences, such as malnutrition, anaemia, serious or permanent disability (including blindness), illness and death. Often, individuals are infected with multiple NTDs simultaneously.

Effective control against NTDs can be achieved when several public health approaches are combined. Interventions are therefore guided by local epidemiology and availability of appropriate detection, prevention and control measures that can be delivered locally. Implementation of appropriate measures with high coverage will lead to achieving the WHO NTD Roadmap targets resulting in the elimination of many diseases and the eradication of at least two by 2020.

Of the NTDs, the centre for neglected tropical diseases focuses mainly on the following 5;

The three filarial diseases (Lymphatic filariasis - Elephantiasis; Loiasis – Loa Loa; Onchocerciasis - River Blindness) are caused by round worms of the Filarioidea type and spread by blood-feeding black flies and mosquitoes. 

Schistosomiasis is an acute and chronic disease caused by parasitic flat worms called schistosomes.

Soil-transmitted helminth infections are caused by a number of different species of parasitic worms that live in the intestine.

The WHO Department of Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases 


Neglected Tropical Diseases