Identifying Neglected Tropical Diseases
Neglected tropical Diseases (NTD) are a group of bacterial and parasitic infections which are affecting 1 billion people. Studies show that these infections persist exclusively in the poorest and most remote areas around the globe. Individuals living in the areas with limited access to effective healthcare are more susceptible to NTDs and their outcome, such as but not limited to malnutrition, anaemia, permanent disability, illness and death. These tropical diseases are called “neglected” because they remain entirely endemic in a low income populations such as: in Africa, Asia, Latin America to name a few.
Neglected tropical disease is always associated with poverty that cause serious disability, life-long damage and death to the infected.
The Big Three and Their Treatments
There are a number of neglected tropical diseases that were identified but three that are well know to us. They are called “the big three” and these are: Malaria, HIV/AIDS, and Tuberculosis.
Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by Plasmodium parasites, transmitted through the bites of an infected mosquitoes to humans. When infected, the parasites multiply in the liver and infect the red blood cells. Its symptoms include fever, headache, and vomiting typically appear within 10 to 15 days after the mosquito bite. This disease is preventable and curable. Treatment for malaria is artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT)
This disease can be prevented. If you’re a frequent traveller from a non-endemic areas, Always have insect repellent handy. Spray before going out. When sleeping, sleep under a mosquito net, this will protect you from mosquito bites. Currently there is no licensed vaccine for malaria.
HIV/AIDS : HIV or Human Immunodeficiency Virus is the virus that causes AIDS or Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome. HIV may be transmitted from one person to another when an infected blood, semen, or vaginal secretions come in contact with an uninfected person.
There’s a treatment for HIV or AIDS called Antiretroviral drug. It can stop an infected person from being ill for years but it is not a cure. This treatment only slows the course of the disease and reduce new infection build ups. This treatment is expensive and is only available in some countries.
Still, the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from this virus is caution. Awareness is prevention.
Tuberculosis or TB is an infectious disease that already has claimed the lives of the many all over the world. Tuberculosis targets the lungs and may also affect some parts of the body. Various strains of mycobacteria cause TB. The disease spreads through the air when an infected person sneezes or coughs. A person near the infected may breathe in this bacteria and may become infected.
Studies show that the factors that make one vulnerable to tuberculosis include but not limited to: alcoholism, poverty, low body weight, crowded living condition, and homelessness.
Its symptoms are loss of weight, loss of energy, poor appetite, chronic cough, fever and night sweats.
Antibiotic is used to treat and kill the bacteria. Vaccine for tuberculosis is currently available. This vaccine is called Bacillus Calmetta-Guerin (BCG)
Fights Against NTDs
Health organizations and pharmaceutical companies have had joint efforts on treatment campaigns for NTDs. International pharmaceutical companies donated over US $1 billion, the largest drug donation in history. Other drugs for NTDs are also available at a very low prices for the public to purchase.
In 2006, the partnership Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases or GNNTD was formed to start the fight against diseases of the poor.
How We Can Help
Treating neglected tropical diseases requires great effort, huge funding and time. Researchers, health organizations, pharmaceutical companies, experts and private organizations are doing their best in finding ways to help discover treatments and cure for all these diseases; stop the infection from spreading out ; caution and make the general public be aware of these illnesses. What they do is not an easy job. If you are reading this and you are as healthy as a horse then you are lucky that you are not being stressed out with these researchers’ jobs. If you are one of the infected people, it’s unfortunate that you’re one of the victims, but you’re lucky knowing that there are professionals and experts who spend time in finding the best treatment and cure for your illness. They too are fighting for your survival.
These entities are there to help us in any way they can. Let us all do our share to stop these killer diseases. Start within yourself and in your family. Live a healthy life. Protect your family from these harmful bacteria and virus carrying agents. Maintain cleanliness at all times. If you think you have one of the diseases do not let others acquire it, seek help before it’s too late.
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