Incorporating a Rapid-Impact Package for Neglected Tropical Diseases with Programs for HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria: A Comprehensive Pro-Poor Health Policy and Strategy for the Developing World

Hotez, Peter J.; Fenwick, Alan; Ottesen, Eric; Sachs, Sonia Ehrlich; Sachs, Jeffrey D.

New initiatives in global health have done much to raise funds and elevate public awareness in order to launch a serious war on HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. Conspicuously absent from these activities, however, has been commensurate advocacy for a group of diseases that exclusively affect the poor and the powerless in rural and impoverished urban areas of developing countries. An increasing body of evidence indicates that this group of "neglected tropical diseases" may not only threaten the health of the poor as much as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, or malaria, but even more importantly, may have effective treatment and prevention strategies that can be delivered for less than US$1 per capita per year. Furthermore, new evidence points to substantial geographic overlap between the neglected tropical diseases and the big three, with emerging data suggesting that control of the neglected tropical diseases could actually become a powerful tool for combating HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. Therefore, achieving success in the global fight against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria may well require a concurrent attack on the neglected tropical diseases and waging a larger battle against a new 21st century "gang of four."


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Earth Institute
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September 14, 2009