Neglected tropical diseases are finally getting the attention they deserve

Sue Desmond-Hellmann
Stat News

When you work in global health, you get to witness some of humankind’s greatest achievements. Together, the world has cut child deaths by more than half since 1990, we’re on the brink of eradicating polio, and we’re reaching more people than ever with lifesaving vaccines. Yet one of the most inspiring success stories is perhaps the one most overlooked: the global effort to eliminate neglected tropical diseases, or NTDs.

Although we are closer than ever to a world without NTDs, our work is not yet done. While there have been some admirable commitments from both affected and donor governments - as well as a growing commitment from philanthropists like the Legatum Foundation - significant gaps remain in funding for both the delivery of existing drugs and the development of new tools. Investments to tackle NTDs are well worth making - both in human and economic terms. According to one study, eliminating NTDs could return around $600 billion to the global economy by 2030.

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