Neglected tropical diseases

MSF calls for action, research and stronger political will to defeat killer neglected tropical diseases

14 June 2012 | Geneva

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has called for an end to decades of inaction in tackling Chagas disease, human African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness) and visceral leishmaniasis (kala azar), all three potentially fatal neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).

In its first report on NTDs –Fighting neglect: finding ways to manage and control visceral leishmaniasis, human African trypanosomiasis and Chagas disease – MSF calls for expansion of existing treatment programmes and more research to develop simpler and more effective diagnostic tools.

According to the report, which was published on 11 June 2012, diagnosis and treatment of these killer diseases is possible, but decades of inaction have “left a deep void”. The report also highlights the “cycle of neglect” perpetuated by policy-makers – who claim there are insufficient tools to treat patients – and pharmaceutical companies – who do not invest in the needed research and development of new tools because neglected tropical disease affect populations who do not represent a lucrative market."