Summary of global update on implementation of preventive chemotherapy against neglected tropical diseases in 2019

12 Oct 2020


Preventive chemotherapy (PC) is a major global strategy in the fight against neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). PC is defined as large-scale delivery of safe, quality-assured medicines, either alone or in combination, at regular inter-vals to entire population groups. WHO recommends PC against the 5 NTDs that are the focus of this report: lymphatic filariasis (LF), onchocerciasis, schistosomiasis, soil-transmitted helminthiases (STH) and trachoma. PC is also used for other NTDs, including food-borne tremato-diases, taeniasis and yaws, for which the PC approach is currently implemented on a much smaller scale. Other interventions (case management, vector control, veteri-nary public health and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH)) may also be required for the control, elimination and eradication of each of these NTDs.

PC represents a major public health intervention, delivering over 1 billion treatments every year, providing essential care for people at risk of infection and the associated diseases. In 2018 alone (latest reporting year for which data collection is complete), >1.75 billion treatments were delivered to 1.14 billion individuals in need of PC for at least 1 of the 5 NTDs listed above.

WHO Member States submit reports on annual progress in control and elimination interventions relevant to these diseases. Table 1 summarizes data on implementa-tion of PC in 2019 by WHO region, as received at WHO by 17 September 2020. It also provides the results of an analysis of the numbers of people requiring and receiving PC in 2019. These numbers are updated annually from the most recent epidemiological data for targeted diseases collected by monitoring and evaluation in programmes and from demographic information that reflects updated population figures at implementation level. Analyses have been carried out to determine the geographical overlap of the different diseases targeted by PC.

Several countries that usually conduct large-scale interventions have not yet submitted their reports for 2019 on the PC Joint Reporting Form. Updates received from these countries will be available on the PC data portal,1which is part of the WHO Global Health Observatory. Detailed reports on the control and elimination of specific diseases will be published in subsequent issues of the Weekly Epidemiological Record."