An Epidemic We Don't Care About Neglected Tropical Diseases and their Global Impact

Neglected Tropical Diseases?

  • A group of 17 communicable diseases that affect people mostly in tropical regions of poverty stricken areas around the world (WHO)
  • 1.4 billion who suffer from NTDs are called the "bottom billion" (Choffnes).
  • Lack of medical resources and funding, and unclean environments lead to the ever-growing burden of NTDs.
  • Diseases like Ascariasis, Schistosomiasis, Leishmaniasis are prevalent throughout the areas in which the bottom billion live.

Stigma and Other Lasting Effects

  • NTDs that leave permanent scars, abnormal growths, and blindness prevent those who suffer from finding marriage, jobs, and childbearing (Choffnes).
  • Children inflicted with NTDs suffer physically, mentally, and socially (Choffnes).
  • Taking care of the sick could lead to the caregivers themselves getting infected by NTDs, continuing the ongoing cycle of disease transmission.

Helping the Bottom Billion

  • WHO created "A Roadmap for Implementation" that plans out their efforts to overcome global impact of NTDs (WHO)
  • London Declaration signed in 2012 (Uniting to Combat)
  • United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 3 of the 2030 Agenda (United Nations)
  • All of these plans intend on the elimination, eradication, or control of the 17 NTDs.

Our Nation's Involvement

  • NIAID has been involved for several years now (NIH)
  • CDC has been working for over 20 years, examining, evaluating, and trying to also defeat 7 of the NTDs (CDC)
  • USAID have focused on the mass production of chemotherapy so they, too, can help control and eradicate NTDs (USAID).
  • More action from the US is needed; NTDs are able to pass to unsuspecting people that travel and continue the cycle, here in the US as well.

A Healthier World for All

"When it comes to global health, there is no 'them'... only 'us.'" - Global Health Council

  • Pharmaceutical companies donated approximately 2.4 billion tablets (Uniting to Combat)
  • Pharmaceutical partners are working to increase the efficiency of chemotherapy programs, which are cost efficient (Uniting to Combat).
  • In two years (2012-2014), those who needed treatment decreased by over 230 million (Uniting to Combat).

There's a lot of work to be done. None should suffer; all should have adequate sources for health and development. This battle against NTDs - we're just at the beginning.


Maastricht University, Global Network, Flickr (IMAWorldHealth, United States Mission Geneva Photostream, Frank Mitchell III), OpenDataKit, IFPMA, USAID

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