Medical Chronicle May 2017

MEDICAL CHRONICLE The Doctor’s Newspaper MAY 2017 TROPICAL DISEASES WINNING THE WAR With an estimated 1bn people receiving treatment in 2015 alone, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports remarkable achievements in tackling neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). W hile NTDs blind, maim, disfigure and debilitate hundreds of millions of people in urban slums and in the poorest parts of the world, approximately 90% of all NTDs can be treated with medicines that are administered once or twice annually. Following the release of the WHO report, Integrating neglected tropical diseases in global health and development, last month at the Global Partners’ Meeting on NTDs in Geneva, this month the World Health Assembly will review proposals for a new Global vector control response. The WHO report demonstrates how strong political support, generous donations of medicines, and improvements in living conditions have led to sustained expansion of disease control programmes in countries where these diseases are most prevalent. “WHO has observed record-breaking progress towards bringing ancient scourges like sleeping sickness and elephantiasis to their knees,” said WHO Director-General, Dr Margaret Chan. “Over the past 10 years, millions of people have been rescued from disability and poverty, thanks to one of the most effective global partnerships in modern public health”. Since 2007, when a group of global partners met to agree to tackle NTDs together, a variety of local and international partners have worked alongside ministries of health in endemic countries to deliver quality- assured medicines, and provide people with care and long-term management. In 2012, partners endorsed a WHO NTD roadmap, committing additional support and resources to eliminating 10 of the most common NTDs. cases in 1999 to well under 3000 cases in 2015 • Trachoma - the world’s leading infectious cause of blindness - has been eliminated as a public health problem in Mexico, Morocco, and Oman. More than 185 000 trachoma patients had surgery for trichiasis continued on page 5 Key achievements included in the report: • 1 billion people treated for at least one neglected tropical disease in 2015 alone • 556 million people received preventive treatment for lymphatic filariasis (elephantiasis) • More than 114 million people received treatment for onchocerciasis (river blindness: 62% of those requiring it • Only 25 human cases of Guinea- worm disease were reported in 2016, putting eradication within reach • Cases of human African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness) have been reduced from 37 000 new OSTEOPOROSIS CPD PAGE 31 ➤➤ CONFIDENTIALITY IN A MEDICAL PRACTICE on page 18 | ED on page 22 | RESPIRATORY CPD on page 51