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Strategic and technical meeting on intensified control of neglected tropical diseases: a renewed effort to combat entrenched communicable diseases of the poor. Report of an international workshop, Berlin, 18-20 April 2005.
Geneva, Switzerland, World Health Organization [WHO], Department of Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases, 2006.  p. (WHO/CDS/NTD/2006.1)Throughout the developing world, socioeconomic progress is impeded by ancient and entrenched infectious diseases that permanently diminish human potential in very large populations. These diseases have largely vanished from affluent nations but continue to flourish in tropical and subtropical climates under the living conditions that surround impoverished populations -- the people left behind by socioeconomic development. These neglected tropical diseases thrive in areas where water supply, housing and sanitation are inadequate, nutrition is poor, literacy rates are low, health systems are rudimentary and insects and other disease vectors are constant household and occupational companions. Neglected tropical diseases continue to permanently maim or otherwise impair the lives of millions of people every year, frequently with adverse effects starting early in life. They anchor affected populations in poverty and also compromise the effectiveness of efforts made by other sectors to improve socioeconomic development. For example, there is ample evidence that children heavily infected with intestinal worms will not fully benefit from educational opportunities and are more likely to suffer poor nutritional status. Adults permanently disabled by blindness or limb deformities may be a burden in rural agricultural communities that eke out a living from subsistence farming. In addition, the stigma attached to many of these diseases closes options for a normal family and social life, especially for women. Efforts to control these diseases thus free people to develop their potential unimpeded by disabling disease and, in so doing, increase the chances that efforts in other sectors, such as education and agriculture, will be successful. (excerpt)