Sustainable Development Goals Must Tackle Neglected Tropical Diseases
As the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) near expiration, the United Nations (UN) is planning its next ambitious set of targets for the development community, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs.) While NTDs are explicitly mentioned in the SDGs, the UN has not so far included an indicator to measure success in controlling NTDs. In an op-ed to the Skoll World Forum, Sabin Vaccine Institute's President, Dr. Peter Hotez, and the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases' Managing Director, Dr. Neeraj Mistry, describe why the SDGs must address NTDs.
"The next critical step for NTDs in the post-2015 process is to ensure that the right indicator is used to measure progress over the next 15 years. The NTD community strongly recommends the following indicator, as a global measurement tool: A 90 percent reduction in the number of people requiring interventions against NTDs by 2030.
In addition, we also need to consider the overlap between NTDs and other factors: nutrition; water, sanitation, and hygiene; maternal and child health; and education. Development goals cannot be achieved in isolation. In fact, NTDs are so inextricably linked to these development issues that their prevalence is seen as an effective proxy for broader socioeconomic and human development. The recently-published “worm index” demonstrates a high correlation between the prevalence of intestinal worms and development."