Efforts to make lasting progress in the elimination of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) must work in tandem with effective water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) programming. WASH interventions dramatically decrease the impact of NTDs on the world’s most vulnerable.
Treating Neglected Tropical Diseases
The impact is two-fold: first by preventing the contraction and spread of disease, and then by enabling better treatment and care of people affected by NTDs. Basic access to clean water is key to preventing the transmission of waterborne NTDs, such as onchocerciasis. Increased hygiene — including wound-cleaning and hand-washing — is a basic component of prevention and treatment of the secondary effects of lymphatic filariasis. Furthermore, without effective WASH programming over the long term, even in those locations where NTDs have been declared eliminated, the risk of re-emergence remains.
Effective WASH Integration
GLIDE is working with partners and stakeholders to identify opportunities to integrate neglected tropical disease and WASH programming for lymphatic filariasis and onchocerciasis, but also for other GLIDE areas of interest, including malaria and polio. The synergies and potential for increased impact are clear and the socio-economic benefits extend beyond health to improve quality of life broadly.