WHO’s ambitious plan to tackle 20 diseases that affect more than a billion mainly poor people aims to achieve the following, all by the year 2030:
- A 90-per-cent reduction in the need for treatment for NTDs
- To have at least 100 countries have eliminated at least one NTD
- To eradicate two diseases – dracunculiasis (guinea worm) and yaws
- To reduce by 75 per cent the disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) related to NTDs
WHO notes that while the past decade has seen the risk of NTDs considerably reduced, with 600 million fewer people now at risk, and with 42 countries having eliminated at least one NTD, more needs to be done.
NTDs trap poorer countries in a cycle of poverty
Indeed, WHO cites that NTDs still affect over one billion people globally, ‘causing pain and disability, creating lasting health, social and economic consequences for individuals and societies. They prevent children from going to school and adults from going to work, says WHO, ‘trapping communities in cycles of poverty and inequity’.
The impact of NTDs on international travel assistance
ITIJ notes that the eradication of NTDs would not only be a blessing to those communities and countries that suffer from them, but it would also open up the world to global travel as NTD travel risks would be mitigated here. This increased tourism revenue could, in turn, help boost a region’s economy.
This would then, in the long-term, enable regions to escape those ‘cycles of poverty and inequity’ that WHO identifies, and enable them to improve their healthcare infrastructure – meaning improved access to healthcare for international travellers. And access to quality healthcare will no doubt bring many more tourists to the destination – some medical travellers, other leisure travellers, who are increasingly prioritising safety in their travel plans.