The World Health Organization on Wednesday hailed "unprecedented progress" in the fight against 18 neglected tropical diseases -- including dengue fever and sleeping sickness -- which kill 170,000 people and disable millions each year.
In the past 10 years, record-breaking progress has been made in tackling tropical diseases that affect one in six people globally, according to the World Health Organization.
‘WHO director general says significant strides have been made in fight against sleeping sickness, elephantiasis and other neglected tropical diseases.’
Data released by the WHO on Wednesday showed that in 2015 more than 60% of the 1.6 billion people suffering from neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), including sleeping sickness and elephantiasis, received treatment.
"Over the past 10 years, millions of people have been rescued from disability and poverty, thanks to one of the most effective global partnerships in modern public health," WHO chief Margaret Chan said in a statement.
A full 1.6 billion people remain affected by NTDs -- more than 500 million of them children -- but that number is down from more than two billion in 2010, WHO said.
The effort against the group of diseases intensified in 2012, when governments and drug companies signed the London Declaration pact committing resources to help eliminate the most common NTDs.
Companies have since annually donated hundreds of millions of treatment doses, enabling one billion people to get therapy for at least one disease in 2015 alone.
The WHO report detailed progress against each of the 10 diseases, citing countries and regions that are reaching elimination and control goals.
Since 2008, cases of visceral leishmaniasis have decreased by 82% in India, Nepal and Bangladesh because of improvements in vector control, social mobilisation of village volunteers and collaboration with other NTD programmes and drug donations.
Trachoma, the world's leading cause of blindness, is also being pushed back. Mexico, Morocco and Oman have eliminated it as a public health problem, according to the WHO.
And lymphatic filariasis, also called elephantiasis, has been eliminated in eight countries, with the number of people globally requiring treatment down to 950 million in 2015, compared with 1.4 billion in 2011.