Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) refers to a diverse group of parasitic and bacterial diseases that cause significant morbidity and mortality in more than 1 billion people worldwide, which disproportionately affect poor and marginalized populations. Because of this, these diseases have historically received far less attention than other major killers such as malaria, HIV, and tuberculosis. Many NTDs cause severe disfigurement and disabilities, including elephantiasis, blindness and developmental disabilities such as stunting and anemia, which can cause both social and economic challenges in the regions where they exist.
For five of the most common NTD infections (lymphatic filariasis [LF], onchocerciasis, soil transmitted helminthiasis [STH], schistosomiasis, and trachoma) safe, effective, and cost-efficient treatments via mass drug administration (MDA) exist to control or eliminate these diseases.
USAID support for NTDs focuses on the scale-up of efficient and sustained preventive chemotherapy in an integrated manner so that control or elimination of these diseases can be achieved.