Togo becomes first country to eliminate four NTDs (Neglected Tropical Diseases)

The World Health Organisation has acknowledged Togo as the first country to eliminate four Neglected Tropical Diseases globally.

The WHO made this known during its Regional Committee for Africa meeting held in Lomé on Monday.

Between 2011 and 2022, Togo has successfully eliminated dracunculiasis (Guinea worm disease), elephantiasis (lymphatic filariasis), human African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness) and trachoma.

NTDs are a group of 20 preventable and treatable diseases, but 1.7 billion people worldwide still require NTD interventions. Many NTDs debilitate, disfigure and disable by preventing children from going to school and adults from being able to work.

In a statement made available to Punch correspondent by the Uniting to Combat Neglected Tropical Diseases and signed by its Associate Consultant, Kingsley Ochieng, it noted that as the first country acknowledged by WHO as having won its fight against four NTDs, Togo eliminated all four diseases in just eleven years.

“Togo previously achieved transmission-free status for Guinea worm disease in 2011. In 2017, it became the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to eliminate elephantiasis as a public health problem and, in 2020, became the first African country to achieve the same status with sleeping sickness.

“To eliminate these diseases, Togo adopted a two-pronged approach that focused on first, interrupting transmission and preventing occurrence of new infections; and secondly, treating or managing diseases, their associated morbidity, and their complications, to alleviate suffering,” it said.

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