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.

Sabin Vaccine Institute President Dr. Peter Hotez gave the keynote address on NTDs at the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers’ XXXI International Conference, focused on NTDs and rare diseases.

On November 10, Sabin Vaccine Institute President Dr. Peter Hotez will give the keynote address on NTDs at the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers’ XXXI International Conference, focused this year on NTDs and rare diseases. The Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers was established by Pope John Paul II to help coordinate the Vatican’s health care related activities. Its work is rooted in the Church’s mission to care for the sick by dedicating its efforts to help health care workers and those serving the sick and suffering. The Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers’ XXXI International Conference will be one of its capstone events, as the Council will be assumed by the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development on January 1, 2017.
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.

Photo: Sabin CEO Michael W. Marine, Ambassador (Ret.), with Former President of Ghana, John Kufuor

by Peter Hotez, M.D., Ph.D. Hotez is Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine where he is also the Texas Children’s Hospital Endowed Chair in Tropical Pediatrics and the University Professor of Biology at Baylor University.

I spent many of my teenage years living in Malawi, enjoying swimming in beautiful Lake Malawi. Wind on to age 30, and I was struggling to get pregnant. Eventually, following illness, I was diagnosed with schistosomiasis by a consultant and colleague at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine.

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