The U.S. Government Global Water Strategy identifies poor hygiene and the lack of adequate water and sanitation as a leading cause of disease and death worldwide and a contributor to the spread of many neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).
The World Health Organization (WHO) WASH and NTD global strategy (2015–2020) emphasizes the urgent need to focus efforts on the provision of safe water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) to eliminate NTDs. Despite the urgency, according to the WHO strategy, WASH and NTDs have received little attention.
This issue features new NTD toolkits from the WHO and the International Coalition for Trachoma Control (ICTC), as well as news from USAID’s NTD Program, studies and reports with overviews on WASH and NTDs, and recently published updates on schistosomiasis, soil-transmitted helminths, and trachoma. It also includes links to some earlier but key WASH and NTD reports.
We would like to thank staff from Global Water 2020 for reviewing and providing content for this issue, as well as the International Coalition for Trachoma Control, Schistosomiasis Control Initiative, and SightSavers for providing content.
Taking Action to End NTDs. USAID Neglected Tropical Diseases Program, February 2019. Last year USAID announced a combined $500 million investment for two new five-year flagship awards that will lead the Agency’s next generation of NTD programming.
WASH and Health Working Together: A ‘How-To’ Guide for Neglected Tropical Disease Programmes. WHO; NNN, January 2019. This toolkit provides step-by-step guidance to NTD program managers and partners on how to engage and work collaboratively with the WASH community to improve delivery of WASH services to underserved populations affected by NTDs. It includes a series of tools to help build multisectoral partnerships and design, implement, and evaluate interventions. The WHO also hosted a recent webinar on the toolkit and Facebook Live Q&A.
Transition Planning for Facial Cleanliness and Environmental Improvement. ICTC, April 2019. This toolkit for transition planning is one of three planning documents ICTC recommends for program managers and implementing partners to support transition from elimination efforts to routine public services.
Fact Sheets on the Five Main WASH-Related NTDs. WHO, March and April 2019. Trachoma, Schistosomiasis, and Soil-Transmitted Helminth Infections (roundworm, whipworm, hookworm). These updated online resources provide a snapshot of each disease with information on prevalence, transmission, and strategies for control.
Read the complete issue.
Water Currents, June 5, 2017 – WASH & Neglected Tropical Diseases
Publications and Videos
Integrating Neglected Tropical Diseases in Global Health and Development: Fourth WHO Report on Neglected Tropical Diseases. WHO, April 2017. This report discusses the significant progress made in reducing the health burdens caused by NTDS. These achievements result from the implementation of five WHO-recommended interventions: preventive chemotherapy; innovative and intensified disease management; vector ecology and management; veterinary public health services; and the provision of safe water, sanitation, and hygiene. An Executive Summary of the report is also available.
Sanitation for All: The Global Opportunity to Increase Transgenerational Health Gains and Better Understand the Link between NCDs and NTDs. Tropical Diseases, Travel Medicine and Vaccines, April 2017. This study takes a look at how the global “sanitation for all” goal will address the dual burden of NTDs and non-communicable diseases (NCDs). This qualitative review of the literature is an attempt to document the health effects of inadequate sanitation and further understand the link between sanitation and NTDs and sanitation and NCDs.
Nearly 400 Million People Are at Higher Risk of Schistosomiasis Because Dams Block the Migration of Snail-Eating River Prawns. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, April 2017. This study estimates that one-third to one-half of the global population at risk of schistosomiasis could benefit from restoration of native prawns. Because dams block prawn migrations, results suggest that their removal contributes to the sharp increase of schistosomiasis after damming, and points to prawn restoration as an ecological solution for reducing human disease.
Global Urbanization and the Neglected Tropical Diseases. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, February 2017. Increasing urbanization in both developing and developed countries could promote the emergence of a new set of NTDs. While an important feature of NTDs is their disproportionate impact on populations living in rural poverty, selected diseases primarily affect the poor in urban settings. Poor urban planning, unchecked growth, and inadequate public health measures further complicate urban areas’ abilities to meet the Sustainable Development Goal targets.
World Health Organization NTD Fact Sheets. In April 2017, WHO published NTD Fact Sheets on Foodborne Trematodiases, Trachoma, Dengue, Chikungunya, and Leishmaniasis. Additional NTD fact sheets are available on the WHO NTD web page.
Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) are essential for preventing and managing diseases including neglected tropical diseases (NTD) which affect over 1 billion people among the poorest communities.
Closer coordination of WASH and NTD programmes is needed to ensure WASH services are reaching the most vulnerable populations. Many WASH and NTD actors have started to work together on the planning and implementation of their projects and have documented their experiences and lessons learnt.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has published a paper that draws on examples from eighteen countries to summarise emerging successes and challenges. Several examples relate to WASH in Schools projects. Two case studies are highlighted: the Lao PDR and Cambodia CL-SWASH initiative and the CARE Integrated WASH and NTDs Programme in Ethiopia.
WHO, 2017. Water, sanitation and hygiene to combat neglected tropical diseases : initial lessons from project implementation. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization. 6 p. WHO reference number: WHO/FWC/WSH/17.02. Available at: www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/publications/wash-to-combat-neglected-tropical-diseases/en/
To End Neglected Tropical Diseases, Start With The Basics Of Clean Water And Sanitation For The World’s Poorest. Huffington Post, April 26, 2017.
Despite ‘unprecedented progress’ further gains depend on water and sanitation, says the World Health Organization
Itai Nakoru, 87, from Adengei village, Nakapiripirit District, Karamoja region, Uganda is examined to see if she is fit for eye surgery to treat her trachoma
87-year-old Itai Nakoru, opens her eyes slowly so the doctor can examine them. She’s in excruciating pain because every time she blinks, her eyelashes scratch her corneas.
For the last six years, my eyes have been itching so much, this year, my left eye totally lost sight,” she explains.Itai lives in Uganda’s northeastern Karamoja region. She’s being examined by a doctor to determine if she can have surgery to treat her trichiasis, which is a result of repeated trachoma infection.
This eye disease is caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis and leads to inflammation, scarring the inside of the eyelid. The eyelids eventually turn inwards causing the eyelashes to scratch the cornea.
Trachoma is the leading cause of preventable blindness in the world, affecting almost two million people globally. In this region of Uganda, trachoma rates are the highest in the country, largely because the area is hot and dusty and sanitation is poor, making it a perfect breeding ground for bacteria.
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Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for sustainable Neglected Tropical Disease control. by Anouk Gouvras, BugBitten Blog, November 18, 2016.
The International Society for Neglected Tropical Diseases (ISNTD) hosted a meeting exploring aspects of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) on NTD control; ISNTD Water. Below I have highlighted some of the NTD and WASH aspects that were presented and discussed at the meeting.
Currently the majority of Neglected Tropical Disease (NTDs) control programs center around chemotherapy to treat and prevent disease. However two documents from the WHO; the 2012 WHO roadmap and more recently the report on NTDs and Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), highlight the need for WASH integration to achieve sustainable NTD control and elimination. The International Society for NTDs hosted a meeting exploring aspects of WASH and NTDs; ISNTD Water.
Neglected Tropical Diseases
NTDs is a term given to a diverse group of 17 infectious diseases that are highly prevalent in tropical and subtropical countries, that thrive in poverty stricken areas with low or no access to sanitation and clean water infrastructure, cause huge damage to public health and socio-economic development and yet still receive little global attention. Together they infect over 1.4 billion people world wide and the majority are caused by protozoan or helminth infections. They are the diseases of neglected people of low income countries and of poor communities living in richer countries.
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Water, sanitation and hygiene for accelerating and sustaining progress on neglected tropical diseases: a new Global Strategy 2015–20. Int. Health (2016) 8 (suppl 1): i19-i21.
Authors: Sophie Boisson, Dirk Engels, et al.
Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) affect over 1 billion people. Safe water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) contribute to prevention and management of most NTDs. Linking WASH and NTD interventions has potential to impact on multiple NTDs and can help secure sustainable and equitable progress towards universal access to WASH.
The need to address the determinants of NTDs has been acknowledged. In response, WHO has published a new Global Strategy: ‘Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for accelerating and sustaining progress on Neglected Tropical Diseases’.
The Strategy focuses on cross-cutting actions that benefit disease control and care efforts, and strengthen health systems. Implementation of the strategy and the accompanying action plan can help ensure that the health and development agenda leaves no one behind.
Published on Feb 22, 2016
The Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing (PPPHW) co-hosted this webinar with the USAID WASHplus project to discuss the importance of integrating water, sanitation, and hygiene to combat neglected tropical diseases, and to address the need for new approaches for multi-sector initiatives to promote equity, poverty alleviation, health, and well-being.