Governments to Tackle 13 Tropical Diseases in Poor Areas

Though many take for granted that the world must no longer worry about certain diseases, this cannot be said of all parts of our world. Neglected Tropical Diseases, a group comprised of 13 diseases that affect very poor areas, still need significant attention.

Thirteen major drug companies made an announcement, on Monday, that the United States, British, and United Arab Emirate governments plan to control or eliminate ten of these major diseases. The announcement, made along with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, proposed tackling this by the end of this decade.


Diseases that will be targeted include Blinding Trachoma, a bacterial infection in the eye that causes scarring in the eyelids and makes the lid turn inward. This is a leading cause of blindness and affects over 40 million individuals; Africa is the most affected continent.


Leprosy will also be looked at; this infection causes severe disfigurement to the skin, nerves, lining of the upper respiratory tract, eyes, and other organs. Around 200,000 cases of leprosy are reported every year, with Southeast Asia citing the majority of cases.

Sleeping Sickness

Another disease to be tackled is colloquially known as Sleeping Sickness, an illness thought to be contracted through the bite of a tsetse fly. This illness threatens millions of individuals in sub-Saharan Africa. In the body, the parasite multiplies and eventually causes headache, fever, weakness, and extreme pain. Eventually, the parasite moves tithe Central Nervous System and is the cause of neurological/psychiatric disorders which can cause death.

Guinea Worm

Guinea Worm will also be targeted; this infection causes worm to grow up to three feet in length. Transmitted by contaminated water, worms grow in human tissues and eventually emerge—painfully—through skin. Most cases are reported in South Sudan, Mali, Ethiopia, and Ghana.


Lymphaticfilariasis, colloquially known as elephantiasis, will also be viewed.  This mosquito-borne illness usually contracted in childhood, manifests as worms which grow large enough to block the lymphatic system, leading to a disfiguring swelling of limbs and genitals. This disease, affecting around 120 million people, is concentrated in Southeast Asia, Africa, and Brazil.

Chagas Disease

Chagas Disease will also be targeted; this disease is caused by a parasite (Trypanosoma cruzi) and can be contracted through transfusion of infected blood, too. The disease can lead to fatal cardiac issues.

Visceral Leishmaniasis

Visceral Leishmaniasis will also be viewed; this infection attacks internal organs and, if untreated, can cause death within only two years. Even when treated, the parasite can return and cause disfiguring lesions. The disease commonly known as river blindness will be focused on, too. This causes skin lesions, itching, and visual problems including permanent blindness.


Schistosomiasis, another parasitic infection transmitted through water, causes damage to major organs.  Mostly present in the Americas, Africa, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and the Western Pacific, the diseases estimated to impact 200 million lives.


Hookworm will be targeted; this affects over a billion people and causes cognitive and physical problems. Like its counterparts, it tends to affect the poor.

Claire Al-Aufi

Claire Al-Aufi is a contributing author for Hive Health Media who provides updates on health and fitness news.

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