Mycetoma: A critical step towards recognition as a neglected tropical disease

Almina Yusuf Hassan Balel mycetoma patient
Doctors look at a patient’s lesions caused by mycetoma

DNDi attended the 138th Executive Board (EB) of the World Health Organization (WHO) last month. The EB was considering a resolution to add the mycetoma to WHO’s official list of neglected diseases. The mycetoma resolution will be proposed for adoption at the upcoming World Health Assembly (WHA) agenda in May. The WHA is the decision-making body of WHO. It is attended by delegations from all WHO Member States and focuses on a specific health agenda prepared by the EB. If the WHA approves, mycetoma will have overcome a key barrier to R&D to tackle the disease to date: with official inclusion in the WHO NTD Department’s activities, certain funding bodies will be able to consider taking up the disease within their funding scope and help to support the much needed research and development for diagnostics and effective treatment.

After a long debate by Member States, the EB has requested that WHO’s Strategic and Technical Advisory Group for Neglected Tropical Diseases present a paper outlining the criteria for what qualifies a disease as a ‘neglected tropical disease’.