Corus International staff Allyson Bear, MPH, vice president for quality and impact, and Dr. Andreas Nshala, who leads NTD work in Tanzania, co-wrote this op-ed in U.S. News & World Report on the moral imperative to fight neglected tropical diseases, which disproportionately affect poor people around the world. They note that all NTDs can be controlled or eliminated entirely with known public health approaches and interventions. Improved sanitation, medicines and medical procedures have produced truly remarkable results in preventing and controlling NTDs, including trachoma, in some of the world's poorest communities. Preventing, controlling and eliminating these diseases puts out poverty's fire at its base:
Fatima Murilimu Bushin was losing her sight and was scared.
She said what worried her most wasn't the fear of a long, painful journey to blindness. She feared not being able to feed her family because blindness would keep her from working and providing, as mothers do.
The ultimate tragedy is that Bushin's condition was preventable and, if caught in time, stoppable. She was among thousands of women in Tanzania who suffered from trachoma, a contagious disease affecting largely poor communities in developing countries. Trachoma is one of 20 neglected tropical diseases, or NTDs, so named because they receive less attention than other tropical diseases such as malaria. Yet NTDs affect more than 1 billion people, perpetuating poverty and stunting the economic development of countries in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean.
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