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Malawi Eliminates Two Neglected Tropical Diseases – Trachoma and Elephantiasis

There is good news for Malawi as the country has managed to eliminate two Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), Trachoma and Elephantiasis.

Deputy Minister of Health Halima Daud disclosed on Tuesday during the commemoration of World NTDs Day and the launch of Malawi NTDs Master Plan for 2023-2030 in Lilongwe under the theme: Unity, Act and Eliminate.”

She said the country had six old diseases that are known to exist like River blindness, Bilharzia, Sleeping sickness, leprosy, Trachoma and Elephantiasis but managed to eliminate two of them.

“We are progressing well as we have managed to eliminate two of the neglected diseases while the remaining ones we are working towards eliminating them as mass distribution of drugs, treatment and surveillance continues in affected population,” she said.

Adding that they have integrated all the neglected diseases as well as Non Communicable diseases into the country’s health system.

According to her in 2020, World Health Organization (WHO) declared Malawi as free from Elephantiasis while Trachoma in 2017.

Daud further said that the development of the master plan has been guided by Malawi Health Sector Strategic Plan with the aim of facilitating and accelerating the country’s progress in achieving it’s Universal Health Coverage targets by 2030.

She explained that the focus of the plan is to eliminate NTDs and not control, having locally owned and driven NTD program, building local capacity to have nearly all elimination and disease management done locally, evidence based on impact indicators rather than operational indicators as well as emphasizing on shifting the program financing to local rather than multinational donor dependent.

The Deputy minister therefore emphasized the need to show ownership and leadership by allocating resources for the implementation of the plan so that the country achieves the desired goals.

WHO Country Representative, Dr Neema Kimambo said the plan will really guide the process for Malawi towards eliminating all neglected diseases.

“Malawi has already done well in this area as they have eliminated two of the neglected diseases but there still work that needs to be done to ensure continued surveillance for the diseases which have been eliminated so that there should not be resurgence,” she said.

Kimambo therefore pledged her organization’s support to ensure that NTDs are eradicated, eliminated, or controlled by 2030.

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