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Neglected Tropical Diseases Affect More than One Billion People

February 20, 2013 by

An elderly woman in Nimule, Sudan is blind from trachoma, one of the 7 Neglected Tropical Diseases. She makes baskets because it is something he can do by feel. Photo by Karen Kasmauski for CRS

An elderly woman in Nimule, Sudan is blind from trachoma, one of the seven major Neglected Tropical Diseases. She makes baskets because it is something he can do by feel. Photo by Karen Kasmauski for CRS

More than 1 billion people are affected by seven major Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) — so named because they receive little attention compared to other better-known diseases such as HIV, malaria and tuberculosis. Health specialist David Bundy argues that the cost for treating NTDs is minimal. From the World Bank:

Infecting more than 1 billion people globally, the 7 major Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) cause blindness, disfigurement, anemia and cognitive impairment, and yet can be controlled or even eliminated by taking pills once or twice a year. NTDs are not simply neglected in terms of awareness and resource allocation but also in the sense that they affect some of the most neglected communities on the planet – those at the end of the road, those for whom fresh water and hygiene are challenging and those whose access to the health care is limited.

In fact, diseases such as river blindness, elephantiasis, trachoma, bilharzia, and various types of worms are so closely linked with poverty that they can be used as effective indicators to gauge the success of health systems in terms of equity.

Read the full article on the World Bank blog.

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