Mycetoma at the World Health Organisation
- Published: 10 January 2017
2016 was the Mycetoma year at the World Health Organisation (WHO). The Sudan Federal Ministry of Health and at the request of the MRC request submitted a draft resolution to the 68th World Health Assembly secretariat to include mycetoma in the WHO/Neglected Tropical Diseases list. The submission was discussed at the WHO
137th Executive Board meeting in May 2015 and was referred to the WHO 138th Executive Board meeting in January 2016 for further discussion.
The WHO 138th Executive Board recommends mycetoma resolution to World Health Assembly
The 138th Executive Board of the WHO held its meeting on the 28th of January 2016 in Geneva, discussed and recommended a draft resolution on mycetoma to the 69th World Health Assembly, paving the way for its discussion and adoption in May 2016 pending the WHO Strategic and Technical Advisory Group (STAG) recommendations.
WHO Strategic and Technical Advisory Group recommends the inclusion of mycetoma in the NTD list
In January 2016, the 138th session of the WHO Executive Board requested the Director-General, through the Neglected Tropical Diseases STAG, to define a systematic, technically driven process for the evaluation and potential inclusion of additional diseases among the “Neglected Tropical Diseases” list. The process was developed, a mycetoma draft resolution was discussed by a sub-committee. This was found to fit in the new process and a report was produced (http://www.who.int/neglected_diseases/NTD_STAG_report_2016.pdf?ua=1)
The adaptation Mycetoma Resolution by the 169th WHA
On the 28th of May 2016, the 169th WHA, adopted The Mycetoma Resolution. In his remarks, during the adoption of the resolution, the representative of Niger, speaking on behalf of 47 countries that form part of WHO’s Africa Region, extend his appreciation and gratitude to all countries and organizations for their support and called for the need to develop better diagnostic tests.
Other countries, including Sudan, Iraq, Kenya, the Republic of Korea, South Africa, Saudi Arabia and Thailand, participated in the deliberations to support the resolution. Japan, Switzerland and the United States of America, while stressing the importance of developing better diagnostic tools, acknowledged the work of WHO in developing the criteria and procedures to add future diseases to the category of neglected tropical diseases. The MRC Director on behalf of the Sudan addressed the meeting and acknowledged the WHO and various countries efforts to include mycetoma at the WHO/NTD list.
The adoption of this resolution provides wider international recognition of the devastation posed by mycetoma and allows the global community to support research to develop better diagnostic methods and treatments and to facilitate the implementation of control and surveillance measures in affected countries.
“This resolution gives a new dimension to advocate and collaborate with partners for improved surveillance and control” said Dr. Dirk Engels, Director WHO Department of Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases. He also added “Enhanced tools and strategies will enable health services to better manage cases at peripheral levels where they occur.”
“As is the case with many other neglected, poverty-related diseases, prevention and control interventions against mycetoma fail to reach all affected populations” said Dr. RenMinghui, WHO Assistant Director-General for HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases. “More should be done to lessen the impact on breadwinners; and children who drop out of school due to stigma.”
The MRC had an instrumental role in the adoption of the Mycetoma Resolution in close collaboration with the Sudan Federal Ministry of Health, The Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi) and the Permanent Mission of Sudan in Geneva.