Bolivia 2009 © Anna Surinyach
Neglected Diseases Resources
Controlling Deadly Neglected Tropical Diseases
MSF/DNDi Policy Paper
Over one billion people are infected with one or more of the 14 diseases defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). These are major parasitic, bacterial and viral infections that are the most common infections in the 2.7 billion people living on less than $2 a day. Those affected are often marginalized and forgotten by governments, left to suffer in silence. NTDs are diverse but all cause severe disability or death, and bring a major economic burden on endemic countries.
Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has for many years provided diagnosis and treatment for individuals afflicted with NTDs in a wide range of contexts. MSF has primarily focused on the four diseases recognized as the most neglected – visceral leishmaniasis (VL, or kala azar), human African trypanosomiasis (HAT, or sleeping sickness), Chagas disease (American trypanosomiasis), and Buruli ulcer. Three of these NTDs, VL, HAT, and Chagas disease, are often fatal if left untreated and have the highest rates of death of all of the NTDs.
Through extensive experience diagnosing and treating these 4 fatal NTDs in field programs, MSF has observed the continued neglect of these NTDs by governments, health professionals, and donors. These 4 diseases are largely under-resourced in control and treatment programs because they are considered too difficult and costly too treat; the available tools are limited; little investment has been made into research and development (R&D); and their disease burdens are poorly understood due to inadequate screening and surveillance systems. Nevertheless, the diseases are no less devastating for the individuals and countries affected. These barriers beg greater, not less, attention for effective responses to these diseases. Treatment is possible and saving lives today should be a top priority.
Bolivia 2006 © Juan Carlos Tomasi
Sudan 2006 © Juan Carlos Tomasi
India 2008 © Misha Friedman
© 2013 Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)