Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are a group of 17 infectious diseases and conditions afflicting over 1.5 billion of the world’s poorest people, including 836 million children, and threatening the health of millions more.
NTDs disproportionately affect poor and rural populations lacking access to safe water, sanitation, and essential medicines. NTDs cause sickness and disability, compromise maternal health and fetal growth, inhibit children’s mental and physical development, and can result in blindness and severe disfigurement. Without treatment, a number of NTDs are fatal.
The United States is a leading partner in efforts to control and eliminate seven major NTDs: lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis, schistosomiasis, trachoma, and three types of soil-transmitted helminthiasis — ascariasis (roundworm infection), trichuriasis (whipworm infection), and necatoriasis and ancylostomiasis (hookworm infections). Since Fiscal Year 2006, the United States has supported the delivery of more than 2.3 billion treatments for more than 1.1 billion people around the world through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) NTD Program.
This program embraces a public-private partnership with the pharmaceutical industry, enabling USAID to carry out the largest integrated NTD program in the world. To date, every $1 invested has leveraged an estimated $26 in donated medicines, totaling $19 billion in added value.
For more than 12 years, the USAID NTD Program has also led a large-scale implementation of integrated treatment — supporting 31 other programs in Africa, Asia, and the Americas — to reach treatment targets and to monitor and evaluate the achievement of global NTD goals.
Since 2014, the USAID NTD Program has invested in research and development (R&D) to ensure that promising new breakthrough medicines are rapidly evaluated, registered, and made available as soon as possible. Other U.S. agencies involved in research and control efforts include the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Department of Defense (DoD).