NTDs and Development…Troubling Parallels

Neglected tropical diseases are called by such for rather obvious reasons, they occur mostly in tropical regions immediately surrounding or south of the equator, and they receive significantly less funding and attention than other conditions that cause similar or lower morbidity and mortality. According to a recent report issued by the WHO, NTDs are consistently and increasingly hampering socioeconomic development in many tropical countries, most notably those in Africa. The correlation between NTDs and economic development has become increasingly evident through numerous case studies that link this significant morbidity to general development.

The rampant poverty seen in many African countries is attributable to a variety of underlying economic, cultural, social, and medical issues existent domestically. The human capital argument comes to dominate the developmental debate when considering the extraordinarily high burden of disease prevalent in many African societies. Considering that NTDs arguably compromise a large portion of Africa’s high burden of disease, the evident lack of funding for such conditions leaves many African societies struggling to find a large enough population to employ their workforce. In such societies, even if the society has a large enough workforce to sustain their economic development, the quality of such work may be significantly effected by the unproportionately high amount of DALYS. The relationship between poverty in Africa and their high burden of NTDs is unmistakable. The often overlooked nature of NTDs in the international global public health funding arena substantiates the fact that poverty is engendered and complicated by the high burden of NTDs.

Neglected Tropical Diseases and Development: http://www.coastweek.com/3446_37.htm



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