TANZANIA-Tanzania has received millions in funding from the United States (US) government through the US agency for International Development (USAID) for treatment of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).

USAID statement to commemorate the International Day for Neglected Tropical Diseases revealed that the US has invested over US$76M and leveraged more than US$1B in donated drugs since 2010 in support of fight against NTDs in the country.

These tropical diseases cause devastating health, social and economic consequences to more than one billion people resulting to the dire need for countries to work together with organizations to eradicate them.

According to World Health Organization (WHO), Neglected tropical diseases are a diverse group of 20 conditions that are mainly prevalent in tropical areas where they mostly affect impoverished communities and disproportionately affect women and children.

NTDs include buruli ulcer, foodborne trematodiases, human African trypanosomias, leprosy, lymphatic filariasis, dracunculiasis, trachoma, dengue fever, and lymphatic filariasis to name but a few.

WHO has set the aspirational target of 100 countries eliminating a neglected tropical disease by 2030 and a 90% reduction in the number of people requiring treatment for NTDs.

In addition, WHO estimates that over 1.7 billion of the world’s population should be targeted by prevention and treatment activities for at least one of these diseases, every year.

USAID donations to the Tanzanian government supports WHO’s goals through strengthening the state’s health capacity at the local level.

Mission Director for USAID Tanzania, Kate Somvongsiri revealed that the US government has been partnering with Tanzania to advance its goals for NTDs elimination through three consecutive development projects including the NTDs Control Programme, envision and the Act to end NTDs.

These programmes have helped the Tanzanian government to make substantial progress in its fight against neglected tropical diseases.

Tanzania has joined a small list of countries that have set forth a comprehensive sustainability plan for the control and elimination of NTDs,” confirmed Ms Kate Somvongsiri.

She further affirmed that the launch of the ‘NTDs Control Programme’s Strategic Master Plan’ and its ‘Sustainability Plan’ documents marked a great milestone in Tanzania’s journey to control and eliminate NTDs.

Treatment for NTDs has expanded to 73 percent of the country and more than 272 million treatments have been delivered across the country for five NTDs,” Said Ms Somvongsiri.

Mass treatment campaigns and impact surveys indicate that Tanzania is heading towards elimination of lymphatic filariasis and onchocerca volvulus.

Consequently, the provision of treatment for NTDs to a large proportion of Tanzanians and over a 90 percent reduction in disease burden for Lymphatic filariasis and Trachoma brings USAID closer to eliminating the tropical diseases in Tanzania.

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