The imperative to detect and treat Noma: what are the concrete steps to control the disease?

Day 3 – Current Challenge 3

Day2 Migration – CC 3

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

Event description

Noma is a rapidly progressing inflammation of the gums that is estimated to kill up to 90% of the people affected in just a few weeks if not treated timely. Survivors are left with severe wounds making it hard to breathe, eat, speak or see. Noma affects mainly children but also adults more rarely. People at risk are living in extreme poverty and dealing with malnutrition and lack of oral hygiene. They have limited access to healthcare, clean water and routine vaccinations.

Noma is mostly reported in Africa and Asia but there is no mapping of its global prevalence and cases have been reported worldwide through history. In 1998, WHO estimated that noma affects 140,000 people every year and that 770,000 patients who had survived the initial infection.

In December 2023, WHO added noma to the official list of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). The aim of recognizing noma as a NTD is to raise awareness globally, including in academic circles, and to encourage stakeholders to develop a concerted, multi-sectoral approach with the support of new donors. By targeting underserved communities, interventions to prevent and control noma can contribute to achieve universal health coverage and the sustainable development goals.

The aim of this session is to understand how to use the addition of noma to the WHO’s NTD list as a catalyst to improve surveillance, treat noma and ultimately improve our understanding of the global prevalence of the disease.


Marianne Comparet

United Kingdom, Moderator
International Society For Neglected Tropical Diseases

Claire Jeantet

France, Speaker

Mulikat Okanlawon

Nigeria, Speaker
Elysium Noma Survivors’ Association

Marta Ribes

Spain, Speaker
ISG Global, Barcelona Institute for Global Health

Caroline Hostettler

Switzerland, Speaker

Notes to participants


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