Skin related NTDs

Podoconiosis patients await treatment in Ethiopia

The recent debates on how to address NTDs that are not treatable with blanket administrations (non PCT NTDs) and the urgent need to develop strategies that would answer multiple challenges in prevention, control, management and surveillance of these diseases, has led to the recognition of other specific operational and technical aspects of the non-PCT NTDs that have not been discussed so far, yet are an important component of the NTD roadmap. For instance, several diseases such as those that have in common skin lesions as initial signs of infection (Buruli ulcer, cutaneous leishmaniasis, mycetoma and yaws, for instance), have been somehow neglected as difficult to map or involving complex treatment.

Meanwhile, in a post-MDA phase in which drugs such as ivermectin or azithromycin are not administered anymore as blanket administration, diseases such as scabies and yaws, treatable and kept under control with these drugs, are suddenly increasing or reoccurring.

Integration agenda

To move forward the elimination agenda also for these diseases that haven’t been adequately addressed and included in the public health priorities, the World Health Organization (WHO) has recently started to promote an integrated strategy for skin-related NTDs that require active detection, treatment and control.

The integration of management of these diseases that have skin problems as commonality creates an opportunity to tackle many conditions at once in a cost-effective way, and may open up more financial opportunities to finally address them and aim at their elimination in those countries where they are endemic.

The awareness of the current challenges on treating skin related diseases, and the poor knowledge about how to detect and manage them, has prompted several organizations to start focusing on this topic, for instance, by developing new tools to map skin related NTDs and guidelines to support health staff in the differential diagnosis of skin diseases.

As well as the need to improve knowledge and awareness of these diseases that have been forgotten by the international community, the absence of necessary financial support has also been recognized as one of the main challenges. Greater advocacy efforts are needed in order to increase international support for skin related NTDs.

In view of the above, several organizations have agreed to create a new CCG called “Skin NTDs” to ensure that these neglected diseases receive adequate attention and financial support within the NTD Roadmap.

Skin Related NTDs main functions

1. To drive the development and implementation of the Network’s strategy on this cross-cutting topic.
2. To align with and contribute to the NNN Framework for Engagement and its objectives
3. To ensure the Network’s support to the WHO NTD Roadmap is aligned with NNN objectives.
4. To ensure that NNN is represented in relevant forums related to skin related NTDs and sharing relevant information with NNN membership
5. To identify, and plan for, an annual programme of activities that deliver, or enable the Network to deliver on, on the NNN strategy for skin related NTDs
6. To report back to the Members at the Annual Conference on progress

For more functions please refer to the terms of reference.