Sierra Leone is leading performer in treating tropical diseases

Success in treating neglected tropical diseases:

Taking advantage of growing global momentum on neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), Sierra Leone has established
an integrated programme that has treated over five million of the country’s estimated six million people each year for
the past four years – a programme that has reduced prevalence for the four targeted NTDs dramatically. In spite of the
brutal, decade-long civil war that ended in 2002, having caused extensive destruction to infrastructure and resources, the
post-conflict country is now one of West Africa’s leading performers on the control of NTDs and, in 2014, is expected to
move its focus from control to elimination. Five drivers of progress explain this progress:
• a pioneering history of efforts to control NTDs
• an integrated approach to NTD control, delivered via a post-conflict reconstructed and scaled-up health sector
• government commitment, external funding and strong partnerships
• a bottom-up approach that has resulted in community ownership
• a broader context of progress leading to improved and scaled-up delivery.
Sierra Leone has demonstrated that NTDs can be controlled and potentially eliminated even by countries with limited
resources and very fragile health system infrastructures. It provides a workable model for an integrated approach to
tackling NTDs and offers lessons for many of the world’s other low-income countries – every one of which faces endemic
NTDs that blight their prospects for development. This is good news for the 17 African countries that are yet to start
mass drug administration and this document recounts a story of real hope in development progress.

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