WHO’s Expanded Special Project for Elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases (ESPEN)

The Expanded Special Project for Elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases strives to eliminate the five most prevalent neglected tropical diseases in Africa, by providing preventive treatment against e.g. river blindness for free to 600 million people. This continental initiative is carried out by a public-private partnership including pharmaceutical companies. The Swiss contribution makes it possible to accelerate the elimination of the diseases by expanding to more countries and people.

Land/Region Thema Periode Budget
Primäre Gesundheitsversorgung
Stärkung der Gesundheitssysteme
01.08.2019 - 31.07.2024
CHF 7'495'500

This project addresses Sustainable Development Goals 3 of ending the endemics of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) by 2030. NTDs, such as river blindness and elephantiasis, are a diverse group of communicable diseases with devastating consequences for health and economic development in affected regions. One out of six people worldwide are affected. Despite mostly preventable with low-cost treatments, Neglected Tropical Diseases continue to kill an estimated 170,000 people per year and are a leading cause of blindness and other disabilities. Africa bears about half of the global burden of these diseases which contribute to the vicious cycle of poverty and ill-health.

Most NTDs can be prevented, treated and eliminated at around euro 0.50 per treatment per year. Although these low-cost high quality medicines are available, they do not always reach the patients. There is a critical need for strengthening of the supply chain to ensure medicines are utilized and tracked appropriately since countries have limited human resources and capacity to implement.

ESPEN aims at eliminating the five most prevalent NTDs through mass administration of preventive treatments in schools and communities donated by pharmaceutical companies. This means the entire eligible populations in the infected communities are covered through large-scale interventions. The Swiss contribution enables ESPEN to further fill a roughly-estimated treatment gap of 181 Million people not yet receiving treatment and to strengthen health systems in such way that countries can react to resurgence of a disease once it will be eliminated.

Ziele Accelerate the reduction of the burden of Neglected Tropical Diseases by 2025 for a healthier and more prosperous Africa.
Zielgruppen The main beneficiaries of this investment will be populations affected by NTDs in the Member States of the Africa region (44 countries) and selected Eastern Mediterranean countries (Djibouti, Egypt, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen).
Mittelfristige Wirkungen
  • Outcome 1: Scale up treatments to reach 50 million additional people per year
    (towards 100% geographical coverage)
  • Outcome 2: Scale down, i.e. stop treatments once elimination target has been achieved
  • Outcome 3: Strengthen access and quality of information to enable evidence-based action
  • Outcome 4: Improve the efficient and effective use of donated medicines

Erwartete Resultate:  

  • Outcome 1:
    • Output 1: Country plans are completed and reviewed. ESPEN will support countries to update their 5-year master plans and annual work plans
    • Output 2: Annual work plans are implemented
    • Output 3: Country progress is reviewed
  • Outcome 3:
    • Output 1: Enhanced data management via ESPEN portal
    • Output 2: Networks among donors and key partners are strengthened
  • Outcome 4:
    • Output 1: Strengthened Supply Chain Management to optimize utilization and reduce waste.
    • Output 2: Strengthening Joint Application Packages (progress measurement)

Resultate von früheren Phasen:  

In 2017, ESPEN operationally and financially supported 14 countries, launched a data sharing platform, and convened key trainings and coordination meetings to build capacity and enable information sharing. In 2018, ESPEN supported 21 countries to scale treatments to target more than 70 million people.

Additionally, ESPEN’s work on supply change management resulted in the recovery of over 285 mio donated tablets which were lost or unaccounted during the distribution.

Verantwortliche Direktion/Bundesamt DEZA
Kreditbereich Entwicklungszusammenarbeit
Projektpartner Vertragspartner
Organisation der Vereinten Nationen (UNO)
  • World Health Organization

Koordination mit anderen Projekten und Akteuren Swiss Alliance for Neglected Tropical Diseases
Budget Laufende Phase Schweizer Beitrag CHF   7'495'500 Bereits ausgegebenes Schweizer Budget CHF   0 Budget inklusive Projektpartner CHF   49'809'337 Projekttotal seit Anfangsphase Budget inklusive Projektpartner CHF  7'495'500
Projektphasen Phase 1 01.08.2019 - 31.07.2024   (Laufende Phase)