Research and Capacity Building for Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases: The Need for a Different Approach

The neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are a group of chronic disabling infections affecting more than 1 billion people worldwide, mainly in Africa and mostly those living in remote rural areas, urban slums, or conflict zones. By considering the NTDs together, it is clear that they threaten the health of the poorest to a similar extent as HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis (TB) [1]. Beyond their negative direct impact on health, NTDs also fuel the vicious circle of poverty and stigma that leaves people unable to work, go to school, or participate in family and community life. Whilst ‘‘the big three’’ infections have caught the world’s attention, these other disabling and sometimes fatal infectious diseases in Africa have until very recently been receiving relatively little attention from donors, policymakers, and public health officials. Yet NTD control represents a largely untapped development opportunity to alleviate misery and poverty in the world’s poorest populations, and therefore has a direct impact on the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.
An article published by PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases and available at doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0001020
PLoS Negl Trop Dis 5(5): e1020. doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0001020