Health experts are urging governments in the sub-Saharan Africa to commit more resources in the fight against Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs). This move will also lessen economic burden because NTDs render the affected people unproductive.
NTD are a diverse group of tropical infections which are common in low-income populations in developing regions of Africa, Asia and part of America. They are caused by a variety of pathogens.
These pathogens including viruses, bacteria, protozoa and helminths. According to the experts attending 11th DNDi Conference held in Kampala, Uganda, sleeping sickness, elephantiasis, river blindness, Kalazar, mycetoma, Peadiatric HIV and microbes that are resistant to drugs are all part of neglected diseases.
New drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics are regularly developed for diseases that affect wealthy countries, whiles little attention is paid to the NTDs that collectively afflict hundreds of millions of poor patients in developing countries.
According to Dr Monique Wasunna the director of DNDi Africa Regional Office, over 1 billion people risked contacting Leishmaniasis if not checked.
The disease which is spreading in Eastern Africa has four major clinical types including cutaneous, diffuse cutaneous, muco-cutaneous, and visceral one characterized by fever, chills, vomiting, anemia, among others.
Dr Wasunna has identified inadequate resources, minimal capacity and the low level of awareness about the disease as part of challenges hindering works. Eastern Africa countries harbors the highest number of the disease hitting hard on the workforce of North Ethiopian youths.
In DNDis quest to find a lasting solution to the disease a Leishmaniasis African Platform LEAP was adopted by scientist, clinicians and researchers to conduct trials and improve treatment for the disease in the region. If or when successful it means the disease burden will drastically lessen in East Africa.
The over 450 researchers and health practitioners attending the conference emphasized that much attention needs to be given to NTDs if African countries are to development sustainably.