Neglected Tropical Diseases | Anesvad

Neglected Tropical Diseases

Neglected Tropical Diseases

Photo: Ana Palacios

Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) are a group of infectious diseases that inflict suffering and chronic disability on ONE THOUSAND MILLION people in the most impoverished populations of the world.

NTDs affect communities that have no access to health services, adequate hygiene and clean water. I.e., communities that live in subhuman conditions. These tropical diseases, that are one of the greatest problems of the world, causing disfigurement, disability and amputations and trapping families in a never-ending cycle of poverty and disease.

Approximately 1 in 6 people in the world suffer from one or several of the 20 diseases listed as NTDs, impacting the life of more than one thousand million people who live out of the spotlight of the rest of Humanity in appalling conditions.

We focus on fighting Buruli ulcer, yaws, leprosy and lymphatic filariasis, conditions which cause terrible suffering and which are visible because they manifest by means of wounds. However, they can be prevented and, with proper detection and treatments delivered in time, cured.

Our current work is focused on Ivory Coast, Ghana, Benin and Togo, four countries in the Gulf of Guinea where we have been since we started working in this continent, more than twenty years ago, in 1994. These are counties where we have experience, knowledge, acknowledgement and, above all, the endorsement of the results achieved in what has historically been one of the focus points of Anesvad: the fight against Buruli ulcers.

Integrated Projects

In the field of medicine, the strategy to combat diseases varies according to the disease in question. Some require especially individualised treatment, studying the circumstances of each case and medicating and operating according to the seriousness of the affected person’s infection. Others have well-known and effective medical treatment and are cured mainly by supplying medicine. Yaws belongs to this second group and can be treated with medicine that is supplied massively to affected people and those that have come into contact with them. The other three diseases we focus on: leprosy, Buruli ulcer and lymphatic filariasis, belong to the first group and require a study of each patient, their specific circumstances and the level of the lesion, as well as individualised treatment.

We are guided by the recommendations of the World Health Organisation (WHO), that promotes the integrated treatment of these diseases based on cost, effectiveness and impact analysis. By visiting a community, we can detect not only a specific disease, but others that share its characteristics, as is the case of these three diseases, that are visible because they can be seen on the skin.

Therefore, due to the great impact of this strategy, we focus on these three diseases, three of the most terrible NTDs listed by the World Health Organisation, that affect so many millions of destitute people in the world.

  • 1.Buruli ulcer
    • The Buruli ulcer is a chronic and debilitating infection of the skin and the soft tissues that can cause permanent disfigurement and disabilities.
    • The cause is the bacteria Mycobacterium ulcerate.
    • There have been cases in 33 countries with a subtropical climate. The majority are in Africa.
    • The exact mode of transfer of Mycobacterium ulcerate is unknown although its presence is associated with dirty and stagnant water.
    • The diagnosis and early treatment are the only means to minimize the morbidity and prevent lasting disabilities.
    • It is combated with antibiotics which are free to access in the 4 countries.
Neglected Tropical Diseases

Photo: Ana Palacios

  • 2.Lepra
    • It is a chronic and infectious disease. It is the least infectious of the communicable diseases: the common cold is more contagious!
    • The cause is the bacteria (Mycobacterium leprae)
    • Annually an average of 200,000 cases are detected
    • It is transmitted via air, by drops from the nose or the mouth
    • Its incubation is very slow (up to 5 years). Symptoms appear for up to 20 years.
    • It affects the skin, nerves, mucosa of the upper respiratory tract and eyes
    • Effective and free antibiotic treatment since 1995
  • 3.Yaws
    • Infectious disease known as frambuesía (rassberry) due to what the ulcers look like
    • Caused by the bacterium Treponema pertenu paliidum
    • It spreads easily as it is transmitted through direct contact with the skin of an infected person
    • 13 endemic countries. 100,000 cases per year. 50 Millions of people require treatment
    • In 2012, a team of ISglobal researchers discovered how to cure it, a single pill of azithromycin, which in developed countries we take to cure a sore throat is enough to cure a person
    • It is the second disease in the history of mankind which can be eradicated, after smallpox
  • 4.Lymphatic filariasis
    • Lymphatic filariasis is a painful infection which can cause abnormal hypertrophy in particular parts of the body, leading to permanent disability as well as social stigma.
    • It is caused by the transmission by mosquitoes of parasites known as filarias.
    • These worms can live for an average of 6 to 8 years and throughout their life they produce millions of larvae which circulate in the blood.
    • 856 million people in 52 countries need preventive chemotherapy in order to stop the spread of the infection.
    • The WHO launched its Global Programme to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis in 2000 and it is expected to be achieved by 2020.
    • Alleviating suffering and preventing greater disability for affected people are key objectives.

Help us prevent this...

  • One billion people affected around the world
  • WHO goals for 2020: control Buruli ulcer, eliminate leprosy and lymphatic filariasis, and eradicate yaws

We're already helping prevent it here...




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