Please find the answers to frequently asked questions about the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases (Global Network) below. If you have additional questions, please contact us. If you are a member of the media, please contact our communications team.
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What are neglected tropical diseases?
Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are a group of parasitic, viral and bacterial infections that infect more than one in six people worldwide. NTDs disable, debilitate and perpetuate poverty. In worst-case scenarios, they can kill.
What is the Global Network?
The Global Network is an initiative of the Sabin Vaccine Institute that works in partnership with international agencies, governments, scientists, program implementers and development organizations to raise the awareness, political will and funding necessary to control and eliminate NTDs.
What are the 10 NTDs?
The 10 NTDs slated for control, elimination or eradication are schistosomiasis (snail fever); lymphatic filariasis (elephantiasis); trachoma; onchocerciasis (river blindness); Guinea worm; leprosy; Chagas disease; human African trypanosomiasis (HAT); visceral leishmaniasis; and the soil-transmitted helminths (STHs) — ascariasis (roundworm), trichuriasis (whipworm) and hookworm.
These NTDs affect more than one billion people. Controlling and eliminating them as public health threats will help empower a generation to lift themselves out of poverty.
How are people affected by NTDs?
NTDs cause blindness, huge swelling in appendages and limbs, severe malnutrition and anemia, among other symptoms. They are a leading factor in pregnancy complications; they can prevent children from attending school and keep adults from working. Without treatment, NTDs trap families and communities in a cycle of disease and poverty.
How do people get NTDs?
NTDs can be transmitted in a variety of ways, including by mosquitoes, flies and other insects and through contact with contaminated soil and water. As a result, people get NTDs just by doing everyday activities like playing outside, swimming, doing laundry and planting crops.
How much does NTD treatment cost?
Based on a global average, we can treat and protect one person from the most common NTDs for less than 50 cents per year.
Why is the goal 2020? Can we really end NTDs by 2020?
The global health community, led by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has identified the year 2020 as an aggressive target for controlling, eliminating or eradicating ten NTDs. Guinea worm is targeted for eradication. Onchocerciasis, lymphatic filariasis, leprosy, human African trypanosomiasis and trachoma are targeted for elimination, while soil transmitted helminthes, Chagas disease, visceral leishmaniasis and schistosomiasis are targeted for control. The medicines that treat and prevent these diseases exist and are often donated by pharmaceutical companies. Transporting and distributing the medicines, training local health care workers and monitoring and evaluating programs are the primary costs that need to be covered.
Are NTDs included in the Sustainable Development Goals?
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a set of goals and corresponding targets designed to coordinate international development efforts to end extreme poverty by 2030 and to ensure that all human beings can fulfill their potential in dignity and equality within a healthy environment. The 17 SDGs were adopted by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on September 25, 2015, building upon the success of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which expire in 2015. For the first time, NTDs were included as part of these Global Goals under SDG 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. The Global Network continues to advocate for a specific NTD indicator tied to the SDG indicator and monitoring framework to ensure that the number of people requiring interventions against all NTDs is properly tracked and reduced by 2030. By including a specific indicator for NTDs within the SDGs, we can ensure that the world’s poorest are not left behind.
Does treating NTDs take away resources from HIV/AIDS, malaria and other global health issues?
Definitely not. People who are co-infected with NTDs and other diseases often experience worse symptoms because many NTDs weaken the immune system. Treating NTDs at the same time as other illnesses can reduce program costs and improve overall health outcomes. In fact, evidence suggests that the presence of NTDs increases the risk for infection with HIV and tuberculosis, making NTD treatment an important way to reduce transmission rates of other diseases such as HIV/AIDS.
What is the END7 Campaign?
END7 is a global advocacy campaign run by the Global Network to raise awareness of the most common NTDs and raise resources necessary to control or eliminate them. We provide the opportunity for individuals to directly support treatment programs for people in need—for just 50 cents per year, supporters can help treat and protect one person from the seven most common NTDs. We ensure that 100 percent of END7 donations go straight to NTD treatment programs in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, the regions with the largest NTD burdens.
We also provide the opportunity for individuals to advocate directly to policymakers by signing petitions and taking part in advocacy activities. By attracting and focusing popular support for this major health issue, the END7 campaign can encourage global political and philanthropic leaders, as well as national governments in endemic countries, to make the funding and political commitments necessary to defeat NTDs once and for all.
How is the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation involved with the Global Network?
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation helps fund the Global Network to advocate sustained and incremental growth of funding and political commitments for NTD treatment programs.
Where does the money donated to the Global Network go?
Donations to the Global Network support advocacy efforts for the integration of NTDs into existing global health initiatives and international aid budgets, as well as programs that treat and prevent NTD infections.
Where can I find out more information?
Visit www.globalnetwork.org for more information on the Global Network and NTDs. Follow the Global Network on Facebook or Twitter. You can learn more about END7 by visiting www.end7.org, and by joining our communities on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or YouTube.