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The Neglected Tropical Diseases

Apr 15, 2008
Do these diseases sound familiar to you...leprosy, lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis, schistosomiasis, soil-transmitted helminths, or trachoma? If you answered no, do not feel bad because many individuals rarely hear about these tropical diseases anymore. The reason is that industrialized countries do not usually have to deal with these diseases. They are the diseases that still ravage poor countries.

Poor countries have little money to make known their plight to the rest of the world. To make the voices of despair heard around the world the Neglected Tropical Disease Coalition (NTDC) was formed. The NTDC is made up of individual disease alliances, as well as international agencies, their corporate partners, interested academic institutions, some faith-based groups, and also non-governmental organizations.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and also the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identify diseases that are "targets of opportunity" with the purpose of improving global health.

The six diseases mentioned earlier are being targeted to help control or to eliminate the diseases altogether. What will make this possible is the joint effort of all the participants in NTDC to cooperate with scientific breakthroughs and corporate philanthropic efforts to fund research and treatment programs.

Success can almost be seen in the treatment of trachoma in Morocco and leprosy has declined globally. When disease is irradiated in these countries, the citizens become more productive and the global economy improves. This is why all countries industrial or poor should care about these neglected tropical diseases.

Improved economies have an impact on the global economy because of world trade. Financial impact and the health of local residents is not the only concern. International travelers, many those who are called to serve are also greatly at risk to contract these neglected tropical diseases.

These neglected tropical diseases not only have an impact on the citizens of the poor countries where they are found, but any individual traveling to those countries are at risk for exposure to these tropical diseases including missionaries, and also volunteers with the peace corps. These individuals deserve the opportunity to serve without being exposed to these neglected diseases.

The statistics are sad and should be alarming to everyone. 3 billion children, women and men are at risk from these 6 neglected tropical diseases. 350 million individuals have already been disabled or impaired severely by exposure to these neglected tropical diseases.

The cost to work productivity is $10 billion annually or more. This loss represents revenue that could have boosted the country out of poverty and enabled it to become productive in the global economy.

The ability to diagnose, treat and even prevent these 6 diseases exists; the goal to eliminate these diseases is real. There are low or no-cost medications available from four of the major pharmaceutical companies, namely - GlaxoSmithKline,Merck & Co., Inc., Novartis, and Pfizer who have already donated drugs and cash support.

Treatment intervals that are community based is possible which will offer the ability to combine treatments that will be more cost effective and have a greater impact on more of the population. The cost for community-wide treatment of these six diseases ranges from just a few cents to a few dollars per individual.

There are in existence the tools, local and national support to rid these countries of the diseases. Even though tools and opportunity exist to address the issue of neglected tropical diseases, it remains the responsibility of individuals, corporations and countries to take action.
About the Author
Scott Meyers is a staff writer for Its Entirely Natural, a resource for helping you achieve a naturally healthy body, mind, and spirit. You may contact our writers through the web site. Follow this link for more information on Tropical Diseases.
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