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Integrated neglected tropical disease control and elimination programs: A global health 'best buy'

17.01.2013
New paper highlights important links between socio-economic prosperity and integrated treatment efforts

A recently released report, entitled "Social and Economic Impact Review on Neglected Tropical Diseases," highlights links between neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) and socio-economic prosperity.

Published by Hudson Institute's Center for Science in Public Policy, in partnership with the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases, an initiative of the Sabin Vaccine Institute, the paper found NTD control and elimination efforts to be both inexpensive and highly effective, especially when paired with other major disease treatment efforts, making NTD programs one of the most cost-effective public health interventions available.

"Based on our efforts in compiling this review, we can say with confidence that NTD control and elimination is one of the best buys in global public health," said Dr. Jeremiah Norris, director of the Center for Science in Public Policy at Hudson Institute. "The crucial next step is to use this evaluation as a catalyst for prioritizing NTD programs worldwide."

NTDs are a group of parasitic and bacterial diseases that infect more than 1 billion people around the world, most of whom live below the poverty line. These diseases cause malnutrition and anemia, pregnancy complications, blindness, disfigurement and delays to physical and cognitive growth among children, often perpetuating the poverty of those they infect. For a cost of approximately 50 cents per person annually, a packet of pills can treat and protect against these diseases. Pharmaceutical companies donate most of the treatments and many programs use existing infrastructure, such as schools and community centers, to administer them.

Despite their wide-spread impact and low treatment cost, NTDs have been categorized as "other diseases" on the global health and development agenda and often exist in the shadow of better-known diseases such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Based on their findings, the report's authors outlined key recommendations for reducing the burden of NTDs and meeting elimination targets, including prioritizing integrated programs, pivoting from an exclusive health focus to a broader socio-economic context and expanding the role of corporate and public-private partnerships.

"This new report provides strong evidence of the larger socio-economic impact that NTDs have on infected communities," said Dr. Neeraj Mistry, managing director of the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases. "By following the report's recommendations, we can build broader awareness and the political will necessary to put NTDs at the top of the global development agenda—improving the health and prosperity for more than a billion people currently suffering from these devastating diseases."

Hudson Institute and the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases will host a luncheon panel event on January 17th, 2013 at Hudson Institute, to discuss the paper's findings. The panel will feature experts on NTDs and international economics from the World Bank, Harvard University and Rabin Martin. A webcast of the panel along with the full research paper is available on www.hudson.org and www.globalnetwork.org.

About Sabin Vaccine Institute

Sabin Vaccine Institute is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization of scientists, researchers, and advocates dedicated to reducing needless human suffering caused by vaccine preventable and neglected tropical diseases. Sabin works with governments, leading public and private organizations, and academic institutions to provide solutions for some of the world's most pervasive health challenges. Since its founding in 1993 in honor of the oral polio vaccine developer, Dr. Albert B. Sabin, the Institute has been at the forefront of efforts to control, treat and eliminate these diseases by developing new vaccines, advocating use of existing vaccines and promoting increased access to affordable medical treatments. For more information please visit www.sabin.org.

About Hudson Institute

Hudson Institute is a nonpartisan, independent policy research organization dedicated to innovative research and analysis that promotes global security, prosperity, and freedom. Founded in 1961 by strategist Herman Kahn, Hudson Institute challenges conventional thinking and helps manage strategic transitions to the future through interdisciplinary studies in defense, international relations, economics, health care, technology, culture, and law. Hudson seeks to guide public policy makers and global leaders in government and business through a vigorous program of publications, conferences, and policy briefings and recommendations. Hudson Institute is a 501(c)(3) organization financed by tax deductible contributions from private individuals, corporations, foundations, and by government grants. For more information please visit www.hudson.org

Johanna Harvey | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.sabin.org
http://www.hudson.org

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