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Neglected Tropical Diseases and the Millennium Development Goals-why the "other diseases" matter: reality versus rhetoric.

Molyneux, David ORCID: and Malecela, Mwele N (2011) 'Neglected Tropical Diseases and the Millennium Development Goals-why the "other diseases" matter: reality versus rhetoric.'. Parasites & Vectors, Vol 4, e234.

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Since 2004 there has been an increased recognition of the importance of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) as impediments to development. These diseases are caused by a variety of infectious agents - viruses, bacteria and parasites - which cause a diversity of clinical conditions throughout the tropics. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has defined seventeen of these conditions as core NTDs. The objectives for the control, elimination or eradication of these conditions have been defined in World Health Assembly resolutions whilst the strategies for the control or elimination of individual diseases have been defined in various WHO documents. Since 2005 there has been a drive for the expanded control of these diseases through an integrated approach of mass drug administration referred to as Preventive Chemotherapy via community-based distribution systems and through schools. This has been made possible by donations from major pharmaceutical companies of quality and efficacious drugs which have a proven track record of safety. As a result of the increased commitment of endemic countries, bilateral donors and non-governmental development organisations, there has been a considerable expansion of mass drug administration. In particular, programmes targeting lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis, schistosomiasis, trachoma and soil transmitted helminth infections have expanded to treat 887. 8 million people in 2009. There has been significant progress towards guinea worm eradication, and the control of leprosy and human African trypanosomiasis. This paper responds to what the authors believe are inappropriate criticisms of these programmes and counters accusations of the motives of partners made in recently published papers. We provide a detailed response and update the information on the numbers of global treatments undertaken for NTDs and list the success stories to date.The paper acknowledges that in undertaking any health programme in environments such as post-conflict countries, there are always challenges. It is also recognised that NTD control must always be undertaken within the health system context. However, it is important to emphasise that the availability of donated drugs, the multiple impact of those drugs, the willingness of countries to undertake their distribution, thereby committing their own resources to the programmes, and the proven beneficial results outweigh the problems which are faced in environments where communities are often beyond the reach of health services. Given the availability of these interventions, their cost effectiveness and the broader development impact we believe it would be unethical not to continue programmes of such long term benefit to the "bottom billion".

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:
Subjects: WA Public Health > Preventive Medicine > WA 110 Prevention and control of communicable diseases. Transmission of infectious diseases
WA Public Health > Health Problems of Special Population Groups > WA 395 Health in developing countries
WA Public Health > Health Administration and Organization > WA 525 General works
WC Communicable Diseases > Tropical and Parasitic Diseases > WC 680 Tropical diseases (General)
Faculty: Department: Groups (2002 - 2012) > Disease Control Strategy Group
Digital Object Identifer (DOI):
Depositing User: Users 322 not found.
Date Deposited: 27 Feb 2012 12:19
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2018 13:04


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