Report of the 12th meeting of WHO Strategic Technical advisory Group for NTDs

10 June 2019

Main recommendations of the 12th meeting of the WHO Strategic and Technical Advisory Group (STAG)

  • Towards the new Roadmap 2021–2030: Recommends that the new Roadmap should contain measurable targets, identify roles and responsibilities at sub-national, national, regional and global levels, and be regarded as instrumental to achieving universal health coverage. The Roadmap should include multisectoral engagement and an overall monitoring and evaluation framework.
  • NTDs in refugees, internally displaced people and in conflict zones: Notes with concern that some NTDs are emerging in settlements for refugees and internally displaced people and in conflict zones, and recommends that the situation be closely monitored. Access to conflict areas should be ensured, especially with regard to NTDs targeted for eradication and elimination. The Department should stand ready to provide technical support as required in these settings.
  • Cross-sectoral collaboration:
    • Recommends that the current collaboration with other programmes, such as vector control, WASH, MVP (medicines, vaccines and health products), environmental health, mental health, HIV and family and maternal health, be continued and reinforced at all three levels of WHO. Coordination with other WHO departments should be strengthened in the area of data sharing and analysis (e.g. through integrated health information systems), in order to reduce duplication and foster advocacy, coordination and joint planning globally and at country level.
    • Recommends the Department to collaborate as appropriate, within and outside the Organization, to monitor reduced efficacy to NTD medicines and insecticides and prevent and address any possible emergence of resistance.
    • Recommends further support to, and investment in, programmes on zoonotic NTDs and the One Health approach, and stronger collaboration with appropriate partners.
    • Recommends that equity, gender and human rights be included in all NTD activities, particularly with regard to women. Women are disproportionately affected by NTDs such as female genital schistosomiasis and trachoma, and also play a vital role in many NTD activities. The role of women and women’s groups in public health interventions should be reflected in NTD strategies.
  • Normative guidance:
    • Recommends the Department to prepare guidance on the identification and monitoring of epidemiological hotspots and areas of residual transmission of NTDs, and to adjust control strategies as appropriate to respond to the challenges faced by programmes that aim to interrupt transmission of NTDs.
    • Recommends that strategic dialogues be convened and technical guidance provided to countries in which no or limited progress in NTD control, elimination and eradication is being made.
  • Surveillance and health system strengthening: Emphasizes the importance of strengthening surveillance and recommends inclusion of NTDs in health management information and disease reporting systems in order to adequately generate and report data, thus allowing quantification and monitoring of the burden of NTDs and an appropriate deployment of interventions.
  • Inclusion of additional NTDs: Notes with concern the increasing number of diseases proposed for inclusion in the NTD portfolio that are unaccompanied by funded mandates. Resource mobilization, research and advocacy should be encouraged for any condition proposed for inclusion, especially for those that lack adequate information on epidemiology and burden. Criteria for inclusion of category B diseases should be reformulated to reflect this need. The STAG has designated a Task force to review this.
  • Working groups: Recommends the establishment of 10 working groups to accelerate work in respective areas of activities:
    • STAG: monitoring, evaluation and research (+ IDM);
    • STAG: access to quality-assured medicines (and safety);
    • STAG: strategic dialogue and investment;
    • STAG: UHC, cross-cutting issues (e.g. WASH, relation to the Sustainable Development Goals) and multisectoral action (including health system strengthening and community engagement and participation);
    • STAG: zoonoses;
    • Technical Working Groups that report to Director, WHO/NTD: gender equity and rights; capacity-building; dengue and arbovirus control; and diagnostics; and
    • Vector Control Advisory Group.
  • Communication: The STAG commends the Department on the great work it is doing and recommends that the Department seize every opportunity to disseminate information about the impact of NTD interventions and their success globally, regionally, nationally and sub-nationally.
WHO Implementation Monitoring and Evaluation