An Investment Case for Ending Neglected Tropical Diseases

Authors: Christopher Fitzpatrick, Uzoma Nwankwo, Edeltraud Lenk, Sake J de Vlas, Donald Bundy


More than 18 neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) affect more than one billion of the poorest and most marginalized people globally as a consequence of the environmental and socioeconomic conditions in which the poor live. The most common of the NTDs are classified as Buruli ulcer, Chagas disease, dengue, leprosy, visceral leishmaniasis, and human African trypanosomiasis. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends large-scale preventive chemotherapy, prevention of transmission by vectors, and providing, at the individual level, active surveillance, early diagnosis, and treatment. Integrated delivery of more than one medicine at a time is safe and will reduce treatment costs. The approach of mass treatment favors women in most countries because NTDs negatively affect female reproductive health, exacerbate anemia, and increase susceptibility to sexually transmitted infections. WHO has set investment targets to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for NTDs control by 2030, and this investment in interventions is a fair and efficient investment in social justice.