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Sightsavers Reports

Policy brief: neglected tropical diseases

September 2013

Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are a group of 17 parasitic and bacterial infections that affect over 1.4 billion of the world’s poorest people.

Together, these diseases represent the fourth largest disease burden of all communicable diseases globally. NTDs are most prevalent in remote rural areas, urban slums and in conflict zones. Some NTDs kill and others cause severe and often lifelong physical impairment, particularly affecting women and children.

NTDs are diseases that primarily affect people living in poverty. They reduce economic productivity, by preventing individuals from being able to work or care for themselves or their families. NTDs prevent children from growing and learning and can limit access to education. For example the risk of children dropping out of school is doubled if the head of household is infected with onchocerciasis (also known as river blindness). There is increasing evidence that demonstrates that control and elimination of these diseases will significantly reduce illness, social exclusion and mortality.

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Neglected tropical diseases
Rebecca takes a selfie with Dorcas, in Nigeria.
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Simon and Dorcas.
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