Journal of Current Research in Scientific Medicine

: 2019  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 73--74

Responding to the challenge of neglected tropical diseases to attain universal health coverage

Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava1, Prateek Saurabh Shrivastava2,  
1 Department of Community Medicine, Member of the Medical Education Unit and Institute Research Council, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu, India

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How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Responding to the challenge of neglected tropical diseases to attain universal health coverage.J Curr Res Sci Med 2019;5:73-74

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Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Responding to the challenge of neglected tropical diseases to attain universal health coverage. J Curr Res Sci Med [serial online] 2019 [cited 2022 Aug 16 ];5:73-74
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Dear Sir,

Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) comprise a group of diseases which tend to exist among people with poor socioeconomic status, and who are living often beyond the reach of routine health and welfare services offered by the government authorities.[1] These diseases are predominant among people living in developing nations which usually have a weak health-care delivery system.[1] Even though these diseases are transmitted by different vectors, since 2005, the World Health Organization has adopted an integrated and intervention-based approach to respond to these diseases together instead of targeting them individually.[2]

The ultimate aim is to provide quality assured, accessible, and affordable health services to the marginalized population groups.[1],[2] To achieve this, cooperation and commitment from different stakeholders are required.[2],[3] Steps have been taken to bring together different stakeholders (viz., pharmaceutical organizations, donor agencies, policymakers, health personnel, and research, etc.,) and to expedite the prevention, control, elimination, and eradication-related activities pertaining to different NTDs.[2],[3] Moreover, most of the existing challenges can be handled by having an alliance between various sectors.[2],[3]

Pharmaceutical agencies have been requested to increase the donations of essential drugs for preventive chemotherapy.[2] Moreover, efforts have been taken to enhance the funding from various donor agencies for the smooth implementation of control programs in endemic nations.[2] In addition, efforts have been taken to strengthen vector control, veterinary health, improvement of safe water, sanitation, and hygiene practices.[1],[3] Further, establishing linkages between veterinary, environmental, and health sectors can aid in tackling emerging diseases and the prevention of the emergence of antimicrobial resistance.[2]

Considering that gobal leaders are aiming to meet the 2030 targets of leaving no one behind, it will immensely depend upon the way we prioritize the issue of NTDs and build a response for their control.[4] Furthermore, there is a great need to focus toward decentralization of health services, including the strengthening of outreach activities to attain universal health coverage.[4] Furthermore, the principle of equity has to be merged in the NTD agenda, so that the vulnerable and poor population groups who are most at risk of acquiring NTDs can be benefited.[2]

Owing to the efforts, some progress has been achieved like compulsory screening of blood for Chagas disease among blood donors in Latin American nations, significant decline in number of Dracunculiasis cases with the disease being on verge for eradication, elimination of sleeping sickness as a public health problem, elimination of lymphatic filariasis as a public health problem in six nations in 2016 alone, onchocerciasis elimination to a significant extent in the American region, and the elimination of trachoma in Morocco and Oman.[1],[2],[3],[4] However, nothing much can be done on a sustained level unless steps are taken to improve the living condition of millions of vulnerable people across the world.[2]

To conclude, there is an indispensable need to mainstream the concern of prevention and control of neglected tropical diseases in the global public health agenda as millions of poor people are still vulnerable to acquiring the disease mainly due to their inaccessible location and poor financial status. Thus, it is high time that all the concerned stakeholders work together to bridge the existing gaps and moves forward toward universal health coverage.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.


1Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Recommending measures to address the public health concern of neglected tropical diseases. MAMC J Med Sci 2015;1:173-5.
2Engels D. Neglected Tropical Diseases: A Proxy for Equitable Development and Shared Prosperity; 2017. Available from: [Last accessed on 2018 Nov 08].
3Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Dearth in research and development of health products for responding to neglected diseases: An urgent public health need. Ann Trop Med Public Health 2016;9:366-7.
4Fitzpatrick C, Bangert M, Engels D. Sustainable development goals: Diseases that neglect no goals. Nature 2016;535:493.