Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are the most common affliction of the world’s poorest people. Thriving in communities that lack access to health services, adequate sanitation and clean water, NTDs blind, disable and disfigure, trapping families in a cycle of poverty and disease.

During my many years as a diplomat, I saw firsthand how the power of collective action can be extraordinarily important in shaping momentous changes. A few examples include: the creation of the PEPFAR program to combat HIV/AIDS, the accelerated response to terrorism following the East African embassy bombings, effective international coordination to tackle the SARS and avian flu threats, and the constructive collaboration between the United States and Vietnam on the issue of Agent Orange.

Last year, the leaders of some of the wealthiest nations pledged help control and eliminate the most common neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) by 2020.

This article was originally posted on the DSW Blog.

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