Impact of the Neglected Tropical Diseases on Human Development in the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation Nations

The employment of a new “worm index” of human development, together with additional published health information, confirms the important role neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) play in hindering the advancement of many of the world’s Muslim-majority countries.

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Yemen: Fighting Neglected Tropical Diseases against All Odds

Yemen’s MoPHP and NTD partners are now exploring how the successful schistosomiasis and intestinal worm control program can be extended to also include other NTDs, such as onchocerciasis and trachoma. In 2014, the END Fund provided seed funds to support the country’s shift from individual case treatment to mass treatment with ivermectin in areas endemic for onchocerciasis—the first step towards the elimination of this disease in Yemen by 2020. Read the rest here

The Global Burden of Disease Study 2010: Interpretation and Implications for the Neglected Tropical Diseases

The publication of the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010 (GBD 2010) and the accompanying collection of Lancet articles in December 2012 provided the most comprehensive attempt to quantify the burden of almost 300 diseases, injuries, and risk factors, including neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). The disability-adjusted life year (DALY), the metric used in the GBD 2010, is a tool which may be used to assess and compare the relative impact of a number of diseases locally and globally. Read the whole article here

Ten Global “Hotspots” for the Neglected Tropical Diseases

Since the founding of PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases more than six years ago, I have written about the interface between disease and geopolitics. The neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are the world’s most common infections of people living in poverty. Where they are widespread in affected communities and nations, NTDs can be highly destabilizing and ultimately may promote conflict and affect international and foreign policy. Many of the published papers in this area were recently re-organized in a PLOS “Geopolitics of Neglected Tropical Diseases” collection that was posted on our website in the fall of 2012, coinciding with the start of our sixth anniversary. From this information, a number of new and interesting findings emerged about the populations who are most vulnerable to the NTDs, including the extreme poor who live in the large, middle-income countries and even some wealthy countries (such as the United States) that comprise the Group of Twenty (G20) countries, as well as selected Aboriginal populations. Together, the PLOS “Geopolitics of Neglected Tropical Diseases” collection and the G20 analyses identified more than a dozen areas of the world that repeatedly show up as ones where NTDs disproportionately affect the poorest people living at the margins. Here, I summarize what I view as ten of the worst global “hotspots” where NTDs predominate. They represent regions of the world that will require special emphasis for NTD control and elimination if we still aspire to meet Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and targets by 2015; they are regions that may need to be highlighted again as we consider post-MDG aspirations and new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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“Aleppo Evil” قرحة حلب : The Ulcer, the Boil, the Sandfly, and the Conflict

Even in the best of times the Syrian Arab Republic (Syria) has struggled with cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL). We reported previously in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases that old world or anthroponotic CL caused by Leishmania tropica is endemic to Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia. In the ancient northern Syrian city of Aleppo CL has been present for hundreds of years (if not longer), where it is known as the “Aleppo Evil”, “Aleppo ulcer”, “Aleppo Boil”, or “Aleppo Button”. Aleppo evil is a disfiguring condition that disproportionately occurs on the face, especially of young people. It typically lasts one or two years before the lesion heals spontaneously, and is often known locally as “one-year sore”. However, in many cases specific anti-parasitic chemotherapy can hasten the healing process and improve clinical and cosmetic outcomes.

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A New European Neglected Diseases Center for Greece?

Following the recently evolving downturn in the Greek economy, there is an opportunity to build a new Hellenic scientific institution for neglected infections of poverty located at the geographic center of Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa.

While today populations who live in poverty in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia suffer from the largest public health impact from the world’s neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) [1], [2], it is astonishing to some that many of these same diseases also disproportionately strike the impoverished populations living in Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa.

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