With Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) affecting 1.58 billion people globally, 39 per cent of whom live in Africa, the World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Office for Africa has launched a new and improved version of its online portal.
Through the Expanded Special Project for Elimination of NTDs (ESPEN), the WHO Regional Office for Africa said the portal, would provide better access to more detailed country-specific data relating to NTDs across Africa.
This user-friendly platform allows Ministries of Health and other users to access data on NTDs on a sub-national level, to identify specific areas where interventions are needed most, says the organization.
WHO revealed that the in-depth, sub-national data provides an accurate picture of NTD prevalence across each country, enabling national NTD programs to make better-informed decisions and distribute resources most efficiently.
“Today, NTDs affect 1.58 billion people globally, 39 per cent of whom live in Africa. These diseases are both preventable and treatable, yet they continue to cause severe disfigurement and other long-term disabilities that create obstacles to education, employment, economic growth and overall development.
“Evidence-based decision making against NTDs is crucial for progress. The Portal offers access to new interactive maps from 48 countries and downloadable data from 44 countries, including annual reports, country master plans and epidemiology.
“The electronic platform is designed to enable health ministries and stakeholders to more easily share and exchange program data to accelerate the elimination of several NTDs. Ultimately the ESPEN portal is designed to help countries meet the UN’s sustainable development goal 3.3, which aims to achieve NTD elimination by 2030, it added.
ESPEN Team Leader at WHO, Dr. Maria Rebollo Polo, said, “It is critical that countries do more to combat the variety of NTDs that are sadly still so prevalent across Africa, causing their citizens severe disabilities and sometimes their lives.
“Access to updated and more accurate data is vital for countries to implement strategic plans that can truly help to save lives and eliminate NTDs. We encourage NTD elimination programs across Africa to utilize this innovative tool so that their research and investments result in real impact and can be coordinated in the most efficient way, making the most of often scarce resources.”
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