Global report on neglected tropical diseases 2023

29 Jan 2023
WHO NTD Department

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the global community of countries, partners, donors, technical experts, scientists and field implementation teams continue to work towards the ultimate goal of a world free of the burden of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). This work is described in the NTD road map 2021–2030, WHO’s blueprint to drive global efforts in the fight against NTDs in the context of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. These goals encompass a vision of a world population for whom equality of opportunity and of health are fundamental.

Within this context, and during the two years since the launch of the road map (2021–2022), progress has been made. Nevertheless, hindrances towards achieving the targets for 2030 have arisen and work to overcome these obstacles continues. These endeavours have also revealed the scale of the task still facing the global NTD community.

Disruption as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has continued to afflict longstanding and new programmes alike, while other entrenched issues have re-emerged in new and challenging ways. The global NTD community is also confronted with a changing, multi-dimensional funding landscape as donors reassess priorities and adapt to new ways of working, as well as a challenging and unpredictable international context. As a result, progress in controlling, eliminating or eradicating NTDs has not been as far-reaching as expected.

There have, however, been many noteworthy successes, which are documented in this report, along with evidence of disease burdens and the relative strengths and weaknesses of programmes designed to address these.

Over the past decade, the number of people requiring interventions against NTDs has decreased by 25%, falling by some 80 million people between 2020 and 2021 alone. The burden of disease calculated in disabilityadjusted life years is also steadily decreasing. More than one billion people were treated every year for four consecutive years between 2016 and 2019. As of December 2022, 47 countries had eliminated at least one NTD.

This positive trend was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, however, which severely affected NTD programmes, leading to reduced implementation of community-based interventions, restricted access to health-facility-based services and severe impacts on the supply chains for health products. Consequently, the number of people treated for NTDs decreased by 34% between 2019 and 2020, although a generalized resumption of activities enabled an increase of 11% in 2021. The 2021–2022 period also saw several outbreaks of NTDs, including dengue, chikungunya, leishmaniasis and scabies, whose management was made more challenging by restrictions on movement.