The World Health Organization (WHO) has prioritised 17 neglected tropical diseases or NTDs, (http://www.who.int/neglected_diseases/diseases/en/), a diverse group of parasitic and bacterial infectious ailments that prevail in tropical and subtropical conditions in 149 countries, affecting more than one billion people, costing developing economies billions of dollars every year.

NTDs mainly affect populations living in poverty, posing a devastating obstacle to health and seriously impeding poverty reduction and socioeconomic development. These ailments cause immense human suffering and long-term disability, and are the cause of death for over 500,000 people per year. 

At its founding, icipe recognised that control (leading to elimination and eradication), of many arthropod-transmitted NTDs will depend on successful vector control. As such, the Centre, has maintained a strong research focus on key NTD vectors such as tsetse, ticks and mosquitoes. icipe’s research brings together established technologies (e.g. tsetse fly traps), new technologies (repellent collars) and knowledge (e.g. genomics, bioinformatics and geographical information systems – GIS) to improve understanding of vector and disease ecology and dynamics.

A significant example of icipe’s accomplishments in the control of NTDs is the participation in the International Glossina Genome Initiative (IGGI), which in April 2014, successfully completed the mapping of the genome of Glossina morsitans morsitans tsetse species.