Addressing the Neglected Diseases Treatment Gap: Testimony from Dr. Peter Hotez for the House Committee on Foreign Affairs
Dr. Peter Hotez testified on Neglected Tropical Diseases before the House Sub Committee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and international organizations on June 27th.
Highlight from the testimony:
"I like to call the NTDs “the most important diseases you have never heard of.” Today virtually every person on the planet who lives below the World Bank poverty figure – approximately 1.3 billion people, as well as most people who live on less than $2 per day suffers from one or more NTD. For instance almost all of the children who live in extreme poverty have intestinal worms such as hookworms, which feed on blood and rob children of nutrients. Hookworms have actually been shown to reduce childhood intelligence and cognition – and as a result, reduce future wage earning by 40% or more. In this way, NTDs not only occur in the setting of poverty, but they actually cause poverty. Moreover more than one-quarter of pregnant women in sub-Saharan Africa have hookworms and go into labor and delivery profoundly anemic infants. As my obstetrician colleagues point out, it’s not that African women bleed more in childbirth, but that they begin the delivery process with two strikes against them because they start out with so little blood because of their hookworms. In this way, hookworm is a leading contributor to maternal morbidity in Africa."
Dr. Hotez's full testimony
Testimony from Dr. Jay Siegel, Chief Biotechnology Officer and Head of Scientific Strategy and Policy, Johnson and Johnson