The World Health Organisation’s Expanded Special Project for Elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases (ESPEN)* have launched a new open-access AFRO NTD portal mapping the prevalence of the five most common neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) in 37 African countries.
Launched at the Geneva NTD Summit in April 2017 the online portal provides prevalence maps and data downloads for the following diseases; lymphatic filariasis (LF), onchocerciasis, soil-transmitted helminths, schistosomiasis and trachoma.
The platform draws on data provided by the participant countries and is targeted at health ministries and their stakeholders. The portal enables them to make informed decisions on how best to design public health initiatives to control and eliminate NTDs.
London Applied & Spatial Epidemiology Research Group (LASER) through its Global of Atlas of Helminth Infections have been providing technical support for the development of the maps featured on the portal.
On announcing the launch Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO Regional Director for Africa, said, “As scaling up mass drug administration for the over 600 million people who need preventive chemotherapy remains one of the biggest challenges in the region, this NTD portal illustrates WHO AFRO’s bold ambition to take focused and unwavering action”.
Highlighting this collaborative approach for development of the ESPEN project Dr Magda Robalo, Director of the Communicable Disease Cluster at the WHO said, “The NTD portal illustrates our strong commitment to quality data. We will continue to work with all our country partners to collect quality data and continuously improve the functionality and accessibility of the platform.”
Support for the complete mapping of LF, onchocerciasis, soil-transmitted helminths and trachoma in Africa is provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The portal’s trachoma maps draw on data collected from the Global Trachoma Mapping Project supported by DFID and USAID.