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.

Pays/région Thème Période Budget
Monde entier
Maladies infectieuses
Système de santé primaire
Renforcement des systèmes de santé
01.08.2019 - 31.07.2025
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.

Objectifs Accelerate the reduction of the burden of Neglected Tropical Diseases by 2025 for a healthier and more prosperous Africa.
Groupes cibles 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).
Effets à moyen terme
  • 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

Principaux résultats attendus:  

  • 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)

Principaux résultats antérieurs:  

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.

Direction/office fédéral responsable DDC
Crédit Coopération au développement
Partenaire de projet Partenaire contractuel
Organisme des Nations Unies (ONU)
  • Organisation mondiale de la santé

Coordination avec d'autres projets et acteurs Swiss Alliance for Neglected Tropical Diseases
Budget Phase en cours Budget de la Suisse CHF    7’495’500 Budget suisse déjà attribué CHF    2’767’568 Projet total depuis la première phase Budget y compris partenaires de projet CHF   7’495’500
Phases du projet Phase 1 01.08.2019 - 31.07.2025   (Phase en cours)