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With More Focus, G20 Could Help Reduce Incidence Of NTDs Worldwide

“This past weekend, the Sherpas for the Group of 20 nations met for the third time in St. Petersburg to lay the ground work for the G20 Leaders Summit in September,” but “[a]bsent from any public disclosures of these meetings and the proposed fall agenda, so far, have been a newly revealed underbelly of disease and poverty in the G20 countries resulting from a group of chronic and debilitating infections known as the neglected tropical diseases or ‘NTDs,'” Peter Hotez, a fellow at Rice University’s James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy and dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, writes in a GlobalPost opinion piece. “They are the most common infections of poor people, rendering them too sick for work or productive activities and with the ability to reduce child intellect and future wage earning,” and they “disproportionately affect girls and women,” he states.

“If the G20 countries would take ownership of their NTD problem and aggressively implement programs of treatment and prevention, I estimate that the world could see a reduction in up to three-quarters of the world’s most fearsome NTDs,” Hotez continues. “The fact that NTD treatments and preventions are mostly inexpensive and are easily afforded by the G20 governments makes one wonder why these diseases and their global control and elimination efforts remain neglected,” he states, concluding, “I believe it is the fact that the NTDs only affect the profoundly poor — marginalized people with no voice and largely hidden from view. The NTDs and the people affected by them are currently out of sight and out of mind from the global policymakers” (5/17).