Over one third of people affected by neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) live in Africa. These diseases have a profound effect on people’s lives; they cause immeasurable suffering, prevent adults from being able to work, and children from being able to go to school.

In 2019, and in order of their league table ranking, Burundi, Malawi, Liberia, Burkina Faso, Rwanda, Togo, Nigeria and Mauritania all reached the 75% average target.

The league table below shows current country rankings, and the map below shows the change in country ranking over the past five years.

It is striking to note that the richest countries are the poorest when it comes to fighting NTDs. Sub-Saharan Africa countries with modest or low gross domestic products (GDPs) like Chad, Burkina Faso, and Burundi are outperforming wealthier nations in the fight against neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).  In fact, five of the ten countries with the lowest NTD index score are in the top ten for gross domestic product per capita.

2019 league table

We recommend that heads of state prioritise the provision of essential health services in parallel to the COVID-19 response by:

  • Putting in place systems that will ensure the resumption and provision of essential services for NTDs that have been impacted by COVID-19, in line with WHO guidelines for implementation.
  • Pandemic preparedness initiatives and investments are designed within the framework of strengthening health systems and investments of primary health services, at the community level, in order to benefit the provision of essential services such as for NTDs.
  • NTD strategies and platforms that are already reaching hard to reach populations, such as mass drug administration (MDA) are utilised for the distribution of COVID-19 BCC and vaccination strategies, to ensure no one is left behind.
  • Resources for NTDs, (human, financial, drugs and supplies) are not diverted to fund COVID-19, leaving already disadvantaged populations exposed and more vulnerable to future health shocks.
  • Most vulnerable populations affected by NTDs, including those with disabilities are not be left behind from accessing the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Concrete, sustainable systems and investments in hand washing and hygiene are put in place to ensure that such practices that have been promoted during COVID-19 can be maintained.