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NEGLECTED TROPICAL DISEASES IN ASIA AND AFRICA



  Jun 25, 2024

NEGLECTED TROPICAL DISEASES IN ASIA AND AFRICA



Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) predominantly affect populations in the poorest parts of the world, particularly in tropical and subtropical regions. Despite their significant impact, these diseases receive considerably less research funding compared to illnesses like HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria.

Key Points

1. High Burden of NTDs:
• In 2021, approximately 677 million people in India required treatment for NTDs such as dengue, chikungunya, and snakebite envenoming.

• Other heavily affected countries include Nigeria, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Congo, Philippines, Tanzania, Uganda, and Pakistan.

2. Funding Disparities:
• In 2022, COVID-19 research received $4.22 billion, while HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria received between $600 million to $1.35 billion.

• NTDs like dengue, chikungunya, leprosy, and snakebite envenoming received only $10 million to $80 million in research funding.

3. Impact of NTDs:
• NTDs contribute to a cycle of poverty by causing long-term disability, social stigma, and economic burdens.

• These diseases can lead to anemia, blindness, chronic pain, infertility, and disfigurement, further hindering economic development and attracting less commercial investment.

4. Geographic Spread:
• Most of the burden of NTDs is shouldered by countries in Asia and Africa. Mexico is the only non-Asian, non-African country with a significant burden.

• Deaths due to NTDs are rare in Europe, Oceania, and North America (except Mexico).

5. Disease-Specific Data:
• India leads in dengue deaths (17,500 in 2019), leprosy cases (over 100,000 in 2022), and snakebite fatalities (over 50,000 in 2019).

6. Research and Development Needs:
• Most research funding in recent years focused on COVID-19 vaccines.

• Funding for new drugs, basic research, biologicals, and diagnostic platforms declined in 2022.

Conclusion

NTDs represent a significant health burden in Asia and Africa, requiring more focused research funding and global attention. Despite their impact, these diseases remain underfunded compared to other infectious diseases. Efforts to manage and eliminate NTDs can succeed with increased funding and deliberate initiatives, as demonstrated by the near-eradication of certain diseases.



SRIRAM’S



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