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Arch Dis Child doi:10.1136/archdischild-2012-302338
  • Global child health

Global trends in neglected tropical disease control and elimination: impact on child health

  1. Peter J Hotez1,3,4,5,6
  1. 1Interdepartmental Program in Translational Biology and Molecular Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, USA
  2. 2Baylor College of Medicine Medical Scientist Training Program, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, USA
  3. 3Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases, Sabin Vaccine Institute, Washington, District of Columbia, USA
  4. 4Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, USA
  5. 5Department of Molecular Virology and Microbiology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, USA
  6. 6National School of Tropical Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, USA
  1. Correspondence to Meagan A Barry, Baylor College of Medicine Medical Scientist Training Program, Baylor College of Medicine, Feigin Center, 1102 Bates St, Suite FC550, Houston, TX 77030, USA; mabarry{at}bcm.edu and Dr Gregory G Simon, Global Network for Neglected Tropical Disease Control, Sabin Vaccine Institute, 2000 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC 20006, USA; Gregory.simon{at}sabin.org
  • Received 10 April 2013
  • Revised 26 May 2013
  • Accepted 28 May 2013
  • Published Online First 22 June 2013

Abstract

The neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are a group of 17 lesser known chronic infections which predominantly affect poor and disenfranchised communities. There are a number of NTDs that cause significant global morbidity in children, including the three major soil transmitted helminth (STH) infections (ascariasis, trichuriasis and hookworm infection), schistosomiasis and trachoma. These NTDs, together with lymphatic filariasis and onchocerciasis, are currently being targeted for global control and elimination through mass drug administration (MDA) campaigns. They represent the most common NTDs and share significant geographical overlap. Additionally, many individuals are polyparasitised with more than a single NTD. Integrated NTD control and elimination MDA programmes offer safe and efficacious treatments for all seven NTDs. However, the current global level of MDA coverage for the leading childhood NTDs, that is, STH infections, schistosomiasis and trachoma, remains well under 50%. Limiting factors for global coverage include insufficient global financial support, drug donation capacity of pharmaceutical companies and targeting school age children to the exclusion of other age groups in need of treatment, such as preschool age children. There is also a need for development of novel prevention and treatment modalities, such as next-generation small molecule drugs and vaccines. Efforts are underway to harness the momentum of a 2012 London Declaration on NTDs and a 2013 World Health Assembly (WHA) resolution as a means to control or in some cases eliminate by 2020 these NTDs that affect children worldwide.