Academic journal article Perspectives in Public Health

Working to Overcome the Global Impact of Neglected Tropical Diseases

Academic journal article Perspectives in Public Health

Working to Overcome the Global Impact of Neglected Tropical Diseases

Article excerpt

Working to Overcome the Global Impact of Neglected Tropical Diseases. By World Health Organization, 2010. ISBN: 978-92-4-1564090

With so much attention paid to HIV/ AIDS, TB, and Malaria, it is appropriate to segregate a given set of lesser diseases into a relatively new category: Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs). As a group, their cumulative impact is far more serious than their individual effect on populations. These ancient plagues on man touch the lives of more than one billion people but given their poverty; weak public health systems; lack of education; and third world country locations, these tropical diseases individually are often neglected by the international health community. The diseases share a common vector but they rarely migrate to the more developed countries and usually do not affect travelers thus they rank low on public health agendas as compared to the better known diseases mentioned earlier.

Dr. Margaret Chen, Director-General of WHO writes: 'neglected tropical diseases have been breeding grounds in places leftfurther behind by socioeconomic progress, where substandard housing, lack of access to safe water and sanitation, filthy environments, and abundant insects and other vectors contribute to efficient transmission of infection' (p. iv).

The beginning chapters of the book discuss the general conditions of NTDs and the years leading up to where we are now in their interdiction worldwide. Of increasing concern to public health officers internationally is the overall human and economic burden of disease especially when considered in comparison to the cost of both prevention and treatment. In many cases, it is evident that there is a substantial cost-benefit advantage to preventing and aggressively treating NTDs to enhance the social and economic well-being of third world populations. …

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