Stigma: The Stealth Weapon of the NTD

The neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are the most common infections of poor people in developing countries, where they cause a high disease burden that rivals HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, or malaria. The NTDs also exhibit important poverty-promoting features, a consequence of their ability to adversely affect child development, pregnancy outcome, and worker productivity. Over the last two decades or more, several important quantitative indicators have been used to measure these health and economic consequences. Employment of the disability-adjusted life year (DALY) has facilitated a comparison of NTD disease burden with better known conditions, while several estimates of the economic impact of selected NTDs, including hookworm infection, lymphatic filariasis, and trachoma, have provided insights on how these conditions prevent the poorest people in developing countries from escaping poverty.

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