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Neglected Diseases and the 10/90 Gap

Southern Sudan has one of the highest concentrations of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD's) in the world. The NTD's are a group of infectious diseases that traditionally receive little attention from governments and donors.

Southern Sudan has one of the highest concentrations of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD's) in the world. The NTD's are a group of infectious diseases that traditionally receive little attention from governments and donors. Their victims are some of the poorest most marginalized people on earth, people who have no economic or political voice, people who live under the conditions where NTD's thrive: unsafe water, poor sanitation and little or no health care. In contrast to the Big Three (TB, malaria and HIV/AIDS), the NTD's suffer from a lack of international awareness and funding for research and development.

To my knowledge, with the exception of Chagas disease (American sleeping sickness or American trypanosomiasis), which occurs exclusively in Latin America, all of the NTD's are present in southern Sudan. The list of diseases covered by WHO's Neglected Tropical Diseases department is long: Buruli ulcer, Chagas disease, cholera and other epidemic diarrhoeal diseases, dengue, guinea-worm, yaws, African sleeping sickness, leishmaniasis (including kala azar), leprosy, lymphatic filariasis (elephantiasis), onchocerciais, schistosomiasis, soil-transmitted helminthes (worms), and trachoma (a blinding eye infection).

Neglected tropical diseases suffer from the 10/90 Gap, a term first coined to describe a statistical finding of the Global Forum on Health Research. In 1990, it estimated that only 10% of all the money spent globally on health research and development was devoted to the problems of the poorest 90% of the world. Conversely, the other 90% was spent on the richest 10% of the world. Although these estimates are old, the term 10/90 Gap still persists to describe the mismatch between resources and need.

The World Health Organisation's Neglected Tropical Diseases:

http://www.who.int/neglected_diseases/

Global Forum for Health Research:

http://www.globalforumhealth.org

Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative:

http://www.dndi.org