There is an urgent need for research on the impact of climate change on neglected tropical diseases

ABC News

The World Health Organization’s (WHO) Task Team on Climate Change, Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) and Malaria, in partnership with Reaching the Last Mile (RLM), has released a major scoping review published in Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.
The review of 42 693 articles reveals that there is not yet sufficient understanding of the actual and potential impacts of human-induced changes to climate patterns on malaria and NTDs.
Rising temperatures and changing weather patterns are altering the spread of vector-borne diseases, with significant implications for human health and placing additional strain on systems.
As the geographic range of disease vectors like mosquitoes expands, so does the risk of introducing – or reintroducing – these diseases to new, unprepared areas.
The paper provides a clarion call for mitigation and evidence responsive adaptation to climate change,” said Dr Daniel Ngamije Madandi, Director of the WHO’s Global Malaria Programme.
Researchers correlated the number of publications with national disease burdens, the Healthcare Access and Quality Index (HAQI), and climate vulnerability scores.
# # # Note to the editor “Climate change, malaria and neglected tropical diseases: a scoping review” is published in the Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (2024; 0: 1–18).
Through its partnerships and programs, RLM provides treatment and preventative care in communities that lack access to quality health services, with a focus on last-mile disease elimination, including malaria, neglected tropical diseases, and polio.

POSITIVE

In collaboration with Reaching the Last Mile (RLM), the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Task Team on Climate Change, Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), and Malaria has published a significant scoping review in Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. According to a review of 42 693 publications, the real and potential effects of anthropogenic changes in climate patterns on malaria and non-transmissible diseases are still poorly understood.

The spread of vector-borne diseases is changing due to rising temperatures and shifting weather patterns, which has serious consequences for human health and puts more strain on infrastructure. There is a greater chance of bringing these diseases to unprepared new areas as disease vectors such as mosquitoes spread geographically. The review’s findings demonstrate that the communities already disproportionately affected by malaria and several NTDs may experience the greatest effects from these changes in the prevalence, incidence, range, and intensity of these diseases.

Dr. Ibrahima Socé Fall, the director of WHO’s Global NTD Programme, who oversaw the study, stated, “The findings presented in this major review highlight the need for more comprehensive, collaborative, and standardized modelling, so that we can better understand and predict the effects of climate change on malaria and NTDs, both directly and indirectly.”. “An urgent call to action is made by this significant and timely review, which uncovers concerning trends. The mosquito vector that spreads dengue and chikungunya is expected to keep growing in range, while malaria transmission is anticipated to move both poleward and higher in altitude. It is critical that we mobilize now in order to preserve and expand upon the hard-won victories of the previous 20 years. “.

The study emphasizes that, in spite of this, published research has all too frequently concentrated on nations with low disease burdens and high access to high-quality healthcare (using the HAQI measurement). With the effects of climate change on malaria and NTDs showing non-linear patterns and changing over time, with significant disease- and location-specific variations, the Task Team describes this focus as a growing emergency for the historically underserved communities with respect to these long-overlooked diseases.

Chief Strategy Officer of Reaching the Last Mile Tala Al-Ramahi stated that the climate crisis “has the potential to reverse decades of progress in global health and development.”. In order to enable the timely and evidence-based development of interventions and to foresee and lessen the worst effects of climate change on human health, there is an urgent need for increased research funding. “.

The lack of evidence needed to sustain the progress made against malaria and NTDs in recent decades is further highlighted by the fact that only 34% of the reviewed studies (174 studies) addressed mitigation strategies and 5% (24 studies) looked at adaptation techniques. A climate crisis has the potential to undo all of our progress together.

“The impact of severe weather on malaria has been observed recently, and it is expected that these events will only increase in frequency. Director of the WHO’s Global Malaria Programme Dr. Daniel Ngamije Madandi said, “The paper provides a clear call for mitigation and evidence-responsive adaptation to climate change.”. Given that the poorest people are already disproportionately affected by malaria and non-communicable diseases (NTDs), it is imperative that we address climate change in a way that is equitable, comprehensive, and sustainable. “.

This cutting-edge scoping review analyzed peer-reviewed articles and grey literature published between January 2010 and October 2023 to determine the effects of climate change on malaria and non-transferable diseases (NTDs). Researchers summarized the data they found and examined the distribution of studies by nation.

A total of 42 693 records were obtained, and 1543 full-text articles were reviewed. Researchers examined the relationship between the number of publications and scores for climate vulnerability, the Healthcare Access and Quality Index (HAQI), and national disease burdens. 185 papers addressed malaria, 181 papers concentrated on dengue and chikungunya, and 53 papers reported results on leishmaniasis out of the 511 papers that fulfilled the inclusion requirements. On the other hand, because they had not been thoroughly investigated, other NTDs were noticeably underrepresented.

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Note to the editor.

The article “Climate change, malaria, and neglected tropical diseases: a scoping review” appears in the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene’s Transactions (2024; 0: 1–18). Journal of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene is one place to look.

Concerning Finishing the Final Mile.

Driven by the philanthropic efforts of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President of the United Arab Emirates, Reaching the Last Mile (RLM) is a portfolio of global health programs, investments, and initiatives aimed at eradicating disease. With an emphasis on last-mile disease elimination, including malaria, neglected tropical diseases, and polio, RLM offers treatment and preventative care through its partnerships and programs to communities lacking access to high-quality health services.

His Highness’s commitment to eradicating preventable diseases that impact the most vulnerable communities worldwide and to assisting millions of children and adults in leading healthy, respectable lives is embodied in RLM’s mission statement.

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