Neglected tropical diseases are a group of tropical infections that are usually found in tropical areas or low-income countries. Many of these infections are caused by parasites, bacteria, and viruses. Leprosy, hookworm, yellow fever are common examples of neglected tropical diseases.
Did you know that over one billion people worldwide are living with one or more neglected tropical diseases every year? Almost 534,000 people die from neglected tropical diseases every year. Many of these diseases cause permanent disfigurement and disabilities such as blindness. Fortunately, neglected tropical diseases are preventable and inexpensive to treat. For only fifty cents, one person can be protected against seven neglected tropical diseases for one year. One out of three people worldwide are at risk for a NTD, however these diseases are still neglected.
Why are tropical diseases are still neglected? Wealthy and developed nations are rarely affected by tropical diseases. Therefore, tropical diseases still do not receive the same international response such as HIV/AIDS, and Malaria. Neglected tropical diseases affect developing countries and these countries usually lack sanitation and clear water. Almost 100% of low income countries are affect by at least five NTDs.
Why should tropical diseases not be “neglected”? Almost half billion children have been affected by neglected tropical diseases, and this has an adverse effect on their education. In addition, NTDs also have a negative effect on economic productivity, gender inequality, stigma, and social discrimination.
We can all make a difference by advocating to make sure these diseases are no longer neglected. By doing this, we would saving and improving thousands of lives. It is time for change, so join the conversation today.