Guest edited by Dirk Engels, Dr. Juerg Utzinger, Dr. Florence Fouque, Daniele Rinaldo, Jean-Louis Arcand, Xiao-Nong Zhou
The recent convergence of crises, dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, and conflicts have created a serious setback to the perspective for achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The 2022 SDG Report (Sustainable Development Goals Report - United Nations Sustainable Development) details the reversal of years of progress, such as in eradicating poverty and hunger, improving health and education, and providing basic services. It highlights the severity and magnitude of the challenges before us and points out that urgent action is needed to rescue the SDGs and deliver meaningful progress towards 2030.
Ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being at all ages is essential to sustainable development. The COVID-19 pandemic has severely disrupted essential health services and halted two decades of work towards making health coverage universal. Yet, disease elimination efforts represent a vast public good, particularly multi-disease elimination by integrated interventions as conceived in WHO’s first roadmap to overcome the impact of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) - 15180 OMS_Merge_1-001 (who.int). The new 2021-2030 NTD roadmap stresses further acceleration of programmatic action to reach ambitious elimination targets, associated with mainstreaming integrated delivery platforms within national health systems and intensifying cross-sectoral action to curtail the underlying social and environmental determinants of poverty-related diseases - Ending the neglect to attain the Sustainable Development Goals: A road map for neglected tropical diseases 2021–2030 (who.int).
Some regional initiatives such the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) disease elimination initiative go even further by aiming to eliminate – by integrated action at all levels - more than 30 communicable diseases and related conditions in the Americas by 2030 - Disease Elimination Initiative: Towards Healthier Generations - PAHO/WHO | Pan American Health Organization. This is expected to generate a widespread and profound public health impact and accelerate progress towards achieving the SDGs and overcoming inequities.
This thematic series of Infectious Diseases of Poverty aims to demonstrate the validity of communicable disease elimination as a key contributor to achieving Universal Health Coverage and the SDGs. It therefore solicits articles that provide evidence of its wide impact on public health and beyond, on addressing inequities, on the cost-effectiveness of integrated implementation and resulting efficiency gains, underscoring its value as a global good.
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