Bangladesh, Maldives, DPR Korea make ‘tremendous’ strides toward disease elimination
Visceral Leishmaniasis, which is spread by sandflies, has been totally eradicated in Bangladesh and the DR of Korea.
Bangladesh is the first country to get the green light to get rid of this dangerous neglected tropical disease, which is very common in the area.
In 2017, they reached the target of less than 1 case for every 10,000 people, and they’ve been making progress ever since, even with some issues caused by the pandemic.
Maldives leprosy milestone
Maldives has become the first country to confirm an end to leprosy transmission, with no child cases detected for more than five years in a row.
In 2019, the island nation published a framework to eliminate leprosy by 2030, and an independent assessment team from the World Health Organization (WHO) has identified strong political will, community motivation, strong health systems, and minimal stigma and discrimination against leprosy victims as the key determinants of the island nation’s success.
DPR Korea success
The World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed that the North Korean National Verification Committee (NVC) has verified that the country is free of the rubella virus, which is endemic in the country.
In November 2019, North Korea began to include the measles and rubella vaccine in its routine childhood immunization programs after conducting a large-scale immunization campaign for nine months to 15 years old and 16 to 18 years old women.
This mass immunization activity quickly built up the population’s immunity to rubella, with over 99.8 percent of the target population of approximately six million people being immunized.
“We need continued national leadership, dedication, and cooperation from countries and health partners around the world in order to address neglected tropical diseases such as lymphatic filariasis (Lifelong leishmaniasis), leprosy, and rubella, all of which threaten children and young people,” WHO Director-General
I would like to express my appreciation for Bangladesh’s and Maldives’ efforts to protect their people from such non-communicable diseases, in accordance with WHO guidelines, and for Bhutan, DPRK Korea, and East Timor’s efforts to remove rubella from the list of public health threats.
These efforts will have a positive impact on the lives of our most vulnerable people, now and in the future.
The Regional Director praised Bangladesh, Maldives, and DPR Korea for their public health successes at the seventy-sixth RCS (Regional Committee Session).
She also expressed her gratitude for Bangladesh’s elimination as a public health challenge and Bhutan and East Timor’s recent elimination of rubella.
“These successes are the result of a long-term strategic vision and culture which we have nurtured together over the past ten years and beyond,” she added.
“A vision and culture that seeks to improve the health and wellbeing of all people, not just some, but all people, everywhere.”