In 2019, neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) killed more than 80,000 people and caused the loss of more than 18 million disability-adjusted life years (a measure of the burden of disease burden, expressed as the years lost to ill health, disability or early death.)
Nonetheless, the resources allocated to help people suffering from NTDs remain scarce. Despite their collective impact, do not attract as much attention as diseases such as HIV/Aids, malaria or tuberculosis.
Currently, the WHO identifies 20 NTDs, different conditions that are caused by parasites, bacteria, viruses, fungi and toxins, with complex transmission cycles involving multiple vectors – mosquitoes, sandflies or dogs via routes such as oral, through the skin or congenital.
Though medically diverse, NTDs can slowly kill, blind, disfigure and debilitate their victims. They cause untold suffering to victims and caregivers in the poorest communities and contribute to perpetuating a cycle of disease, stigma and poverty.
The WHO roadmap for NTDs sets a goal to “control and eliminate the NTDs by 2030”.