Sixteenth meeting of the Strategic and Technical Advisory Group for Neglected Tropical Diseases (STAG-NTDs)
16 January 2023
The sixteenth meeting of the Strategic and Technical Advisory Group for Neglected Tropical Diseases (STAG-NTD) was held as a hybrid meeting, 27–28 September 2022.
- Recommends that a compendium of lessons learnt from COVID-19, detailing both things that worked and things that did not work, be created.
- Recommends an expansion in advocacy for NTDs within and outside of WHO: requests WHO/NTD to develop a comprehensive plan for internal and external resource mobilization and allocation, and urges WHO and other stakeholders to (i) address the current crisis in funding by building sustainable financing for WHO/NTD as well as NTD programmes in WHO’s regional and country offices, and (ii) promote evidence-based interventions against NTDs in endemic populations to enhance the efficient use of available resources.
- Following the progress made against VL after the focus on this topic at the 15th STAG-NTD meeting in 2022, requests (i) an in-depth examination of work to eradicate yaws and (ii) a review of NTDs using a One Health lens, using the published road map companion document, at the next (17th) meeting.
- Encourages expansion of the work of the NTD Modelling Consortium from seven NTDs to all 20 NTDs and to all endemic contexts where feasible, so that countries can assess the likely impact of COVID-19-related programmatic disruptions and consider potential mitigation strategies; and requests consideration of economic modelling beyond the existing transmission models, given the importance of financial considerations in political decision-making.
- Noting the greater global interest in repeated serosurveys for revealing the intensity of infectious disease transmission, recommends that the DTAG leverages this interest for the benefit of work against multiple NTDs alongside other diseases of local importance, particularly as eradication and elimination targets are approached.
- Encourages translation of NTD training courses into relevant local languages and requests that, in future, data on course completions (as well as registrations) be presented in order to allow estimation of impact; and encourages also expansion in the use of social media.
- Requests an urgent and comprehensive multi-stakeholder assessment of the support provided to national programmes that facilitates quality-assured, quality-controlled data generation, analysis, interpretation, reporting, stewardship and linkage to decision-making, which should include optimal use of modern digital tools according to local capacity.
- Encourages local production, where possible, of reagents and consumables in relation to NTD diagnostics; recommends that whenever diagnostics are made available within national NTD programmes, local capacity to correctly deploy those diagnostics should be confirmed; and further recommends that where this capacity is insufficient, locally appropriate capacity-building efforts be undertaken.
- Encourages WHO to support potential new pharmaceutical donors to implement simple low-cost procurement processes.
- Encourages WHO to prioritize maintenance of essential health services, including those for NTDs, within WHO’s initiatives, instruments and mechanisms for pandemic prevention, preparedness and response; encourages collaboration among stakeholders engaged in NTDs and emergency preparedness and response, and in particular
- requests the WHO Secretariat to develop generic cross-cutting plans for strategic interventions indicating, for example, the essential services that should be maintained to minimize mortality, morbidity or reversal of progress against particular NTDs in the setting of a future pandemic, natural disaster or other complex emergency.
- Recommends that dengue programmes and other vector-borne control programmes should be encouraged to implement the integrated vector management response and social mobilization strategies, which should be well documented.
- Emphasizes the existing WHO recommendation for single-dose rifampicin post-exposure prophylaxis for leprosy, and the need for diagnostics for leprosy, without however undermining implementation of the integrated approach to skin-related NTDs.
- Recommends contributions to capacity-building within WHO country offices to empower them to undertake local resource mobilization, emphasizing the impact at country level of work against NTDs.
- Reaffirms the recommendation made at the previous (15th) meeting to not add further diseases to the list of NTDs until at least 2023, whilst acknowledging that many other diseases receive insufficient attention in relation to their contribution to human suffering.
- Recommends that WHO consider appointing one or more goodwill ambassadors for NTDs in order to raise the profile of work against NTDs.
- Requests all stakeholders to support the forthcoming effort to develop a comprehensive research and development blueprint for NTDs.
- Requests that future STAG-NTD meetings allow more time for discussion to be included in the agenda.