Sustaining long-term control of neglected tropical diseases

Neglected tropical diseases, increasingly under the spotlight of the media, affect up to two billion individuals across the globe with developing world areas such as sub-Saharan Africa particularly at risk. Whilst funding for tackling these diseases has increased exponentially, there is still a need for further investment to ensure that sustained progress is made in fighting these diseases.

In a debate article in BMC Medicine this week, Yaobi Zhang, Shawn Baker and colleagues discuss successful strategies for controlling neglected tropical diseases in a long-term sustainable manner based on evidence from recent history. Discussing an integrated control programme with a close focus on the five major ‘tool-ready’ diseases, (lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis, intestinal helminthiasis, schistosomiasis and trachoma), Zhang et al. examine the key factors involved in controlling the spread and virulence of these potentially life threatening conditions.

In line with this debate article, a recent World Health Organization (WHO) report underlines the importance of integrating the control of neglected tropical diseases through national primary care systems whilst working in tandem with a variety of funding streams to best focus effective treatment strategies to areas of the highest priority.

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