Neglected Tropical Diseases

Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) cause significant morbidity and mortality worldwide, but have until recently received limited attention from the affluent regions of the world. These diseases include schistosomiasis, onchocerciasis, lymphatic filariasis, trachoma, and three soil-transmitted helminths, commonly known as hookworm, roundworm and whipworm.

More than 1 billion people suffer from one or more NTDs. These diseases affect the world’s most vulnerable populations, almost exclusively poor and powerless people living in rural areas and urban slums of low-income countries.

NTDs coexist with poverty because they thrive where access to clean water and sanitation are limited and people live without protection from disease vectors. NTDs are also recognized as a contributor to poverty since they can:

  • Impair intellectual development in children.
  • Reduce school enrollment.
  • Hinder economic productivity by limiting the ability of infected individuals to work.

Their impact on individuals and communities is devastating. Many NTDs cause severe disfigurement and disabilities, including blindness.

Fortunately, seven of the most prevalent NTDs can be controlled through preventive chemotherapy that has been proven to be safe and effective and that can be delivered in an integrated manner through mass drug administration. 

USAID support for NTDs focuses on the scale-up of efficient and sustained preventive chemotherapy in an integrated manner so that control of all and elimination of some of these diseases can be achieved.

USAID has become a global leader in large-scale implementation of integrated treatment programs for NTDs. Over the past 7 years, the U.S. Government has leveraged $6.7 billion in donated medicines, resulting in the delivery of more than 1 billion treatments to approximately 467.9 million people through our integrated programs.

USAID’s NTD goals are to contribute to:

  • Elimination of onchocerciasis in the Americas by 2016.
  • Elimination of lymphatic filariasis globally by 2020.
  • Elimination of blinding trachoma globally by 2020.
Related Sectors of Work 

Last updated: September 29, 2016

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