New concept outlines steps to tackle neglected tropical diseases, expedite poverty reduction efforts

Published on November 26, 2013 at 6:08 AM · No Comments

A new concept and policy framework published in PLOS NTDs outlines concrete steps for the global development community as it works to synthesize health goals with economic, environmental and social priorities. The concept, "blue marble health," emphasizes the role of the Group of 20 (G20) nations in tackling neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) to expedite poverty reduction efforts.

"Blue marble health connects countries worldwide by recognizing that extreme poverty is a fundamental underlying factor for neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), regardless of where they occur," said the concept's author, professor Peter Hotez, MD PhD, president of the Sabin Vaccine Institute, director of the Sabin Vaccine Institute and Texas Children's Hospital Center for Vaccine Development and dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. "G20 countries have an exceptional opportunity to embrace NTD control as a cross-cutting strategy and achieve long-lasting, inclusive prosperity within their societies and lower-income countries."

While it is accepted that NTDs affect the world's poorest and most marginalized people living on less than $1.25 a day, the hidden burden of disease among impoverished people in emerging markets and wealthier nations has gone largely unnoticed.

Much of the disease burden within G20 countries falls on marginalized communities in Indonesia and the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa), but there are also several NTDs found in Eastern and Southern Europe, and in the southern United States.

Blue marble health advises the G20 to lead on the following areas:

•Expanding the Portfolio: New information from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010 highlights the urgency to expand global control and elimination programs to include leishmaniasis, dengue, and food-borne trematode infections.

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