Neglected Tropical Diseases

1.7 billion people worldwide are currently at risk of incapacity, blindness, disfigurement, disability or death from neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). The poorest part of the population, especially women and children, are most affected. Children can only go to school irregularly, women and men cannot work and are stigmatised by their environment. In many cases, it would be possible to treat the sick people successfully.


German network against Neglected Tropical Diseases

But often, in some areas, the medicines, some of which are provided free of charge by the pharmaceutical manufacturers, do not reach the people who need them at all, or only at great expense. The so-called very last mile, i.e. the ultimately few steps in the country, to the village that is not connected to any road, that lies outside the supply radius of the health systems, cannot be overcome.

Research and development in the field of neglected tropical diseases must continue. Innovations - new concepts and treatment methods, diagnostics and the development of new vaccines and drugs are essential to help the affected people.


Only by working together with the national governments of the countries where NTDs are endemic, with their political will and with the support of donors - philanthropic organisations, the wealthy industrialised countries, multilateral organisations such as the WHO and World Bank, pharmaceutical companies that donate the drugs and conduct research, non-governmental organisations that implement NTD programmes - can NTDs be successfully combated or, ideally, even their outbreak prevented.

NTDs and Europe
Recently, isolated outbreaks of NTDs have also been reported in Europe, outside their actual areas of origin: Leishmaniasis occurs particularly in the tropics, Peru and Colombia, and eastern Africa. It is transmitted by the sand fly. Probably due to climate change, sand flies have also been found in Germany and cases of leishmaniasis acquired here have been reported.

In southern France, Croatia, Greece and Madeira, people had contracted dengue fever locally. Dengue fever is transmitted by mosquitoes of the species Aedes (the yellow fever mosquito Aedes aegypti and the Asian tiger mosquito Aedes albopictus) in more than 100 countries in the tropics and sub-tropics and is considered the most common mosquito-borne viral disease. Usually, tourists become infected with dengue fever during a stay in Thailand or Indonesia.

Infections with schistosomiasis have also been reported. Travellers had bathed in the river Cavo near Porto Vecchio in South Corsica and contracted the parasites in the water there.

Climate change
Climate change favours the spread of neglected tropical diseases. Extreme weather conditions, heavy rain, floods can trigger epidemics. Mosquito larvae develop faster when it is warm. Researchers from the USA and South Africa have determined how the spread of two mosquito species is affected by changing climates. The mosquito species in question are those that transmit dengue fever, Zika and chikugunya fever. Global warming over the next 30 years could put half a billion more people at risk of tropical diseases due to the changing spread of mosquito species.


African Research Networks of the Federal Ministry of Education in Research presented at the Science Summit of the 78th United Nations General Assembly

New York/Berlin, 12.09.2023 - The Research Networks for Health Innovation in Sub-Saharan Africa (RHISSA) were presented at the Science Summit of the 78th General Assembly. RHISSA has been a major funding initiative of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) since 2016.

The director of the TAkeOff programme (Tackling the Obstacles to Fight Filarial infections and podoconiosis), Prof. Dr Alexander Yaw Debrah, Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research in Tropical Medicine, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana, and Prof. Dr Achim Hörauf, co-director of the programme, UKB Bonn, Germany presented beside others the network. The consortium of researchers from Ghana, Tanzania, Cameroon and Germany aim to improve the morbidity management of lymphatic filariasis (LF) and podoconiosis.

Dengue fever vaccine approved in the EU

Osaka/Cambridge, Massachusetts, Dec. 08, 2022 - Pharmaceutical company Takeda announced that the European Commission has approved its vaccine for the prevention of dengue in people four years of age and older in the European Union.

G7 Development and Health Ministers’ Meeting

Berlin, 19.5.2022 - In the G7 Development Ministers' Meeting Communiqué the G7 Ministers reaffirm their support for health systems strengthening in the fight against neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) in line with the WHO Roadmap and the new Kigali Declaration. The focus is on the development and distribution of new tools for equitable and sustainable access to safe, effective and quality-assured vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics against neglected tropical diseases and on WASH interventions, as well as on promoting the further integration of NTD health services as part of a comprehensive approach to primary health care.

Also, in the Joint Statement of the G7 Health and Development Ministers, the G7 Ministers stressed that numerous current crises should not divert attention from other issues such as HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, polio, neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), sexual and reproductive health and rights, and antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

Germany joins the Kigali Declaration on neglected tropical diseases

Berlin, 29.01.2022 - Germany has joined the Kigali Declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases. Svenja Schulze, Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development: "By joining the Kigali Declaration, the German Government is committed to actively supporting the affected countries and regions together with our partners in the fight against the so-called neglected tropical diseases. This is a fight that we can win and that benefits us all."


UNITE Global Summit 2021

Berlin, 07.11.2021 German parliamentarians are involved in international networks: Prof. Dr. Ullmann, MP discussed antibiotic resistance at the digital UNITE Global Summit. Dr Georg Kippels, Member of the German Bundestag, co-chaired a parliamentary group of uniting to combat NTDs. Jeremy Lefroy introduced the group at the Global Summit.

World NTD Day now official

Geneva, 27.05.2021 - Delegates at the 74th World Health Assembly have added World NTD Day, on 30 January, to the official global calendar of the World Health Organization. World NTD Day was informally launched in 2020 to mobilise the global health community and engage the public in urgent efforts to end neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). More than 360 organisations from 61 countries had raised awareness of NTDs this year.

Kigali Summit against Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases postponed again

London/Kigali, 10/5/2021 - Kigali - Summit against Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases to update the London Declaration, which was scheduled to take place on 25 June 2021, has been postponed again. The event was planned ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). The reason for the new postponement is the current COVID 19 crisis in India.

African sleeping sickness - Else Kröner-Fresenius Prize awarded

Frankfurt / Democratic Republic of the Congo - 03.12.2020. This year's Else Kröner Fresenius Prize for Medical Development Cooperation goes to Dr. Florent Mbo with the project “Sleeping Sickness in Africa: Fexinidazole is now here! Project to promote easy access to the new oral drug against sleeping sickness”. The EKFS is honoring a project in the field of combating neglected tropical diseases, which makes a significant contribution to the sustainable elimination of sleeping sickness in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

World Health Assembly delegates approve WHO's new roadmap to tackle neglected tropical diseases for 2021-2030

Berlin/Geneva -12.11.2020. At the 73rd virtual session of the World Health Assembly, the delegates adopted the new roadmap to combat neglected tropical diseases for 2021-2030 by an overwhelming majority. Dagmar Reitenbach, delegate for Germany from the Federal Ministry of Health underlined in her statement the new possibilities in the coming decade to strengthen public health care through the new roadmap to combat NTDs.

Laboratory tests: drug against elephantiasis and river blindness stops coronavirus growth

Decatur, Georgia, April 7, 2020 - Mectizan Expert Committee stated: Australian researchers presented that the drug ivermectin shows activities against SARS-Cov-2. This is consistent to previous findings that ivermectin is also active against other viruses (such as HIV, dengue, influenza and Zika).  Although the concentration of ivermectin needed to produce anti-viral effects in laboratory tissue culture is far beyond dosage levels approved. High dosis in animals have effected serious toxicity. These findings indicate that ivermectin will not be of clinical benefit to reduce viral loads in COVID-19 patients.