Catholic News Agency

While rarely talked about, Neglected Tropical Diseases are the most widespread ailment among the world's poorest of the poor – yet also ironically the most prevalent in top global economies, experts say.

Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) are “the most important diseases you've never heard of. These are the most common afflictions of the world's poor,” Peter Hotez, MD, PhD, told CNA Nov. 11.

“Every single person who lives in poverty, profound poverty, has at least one of these diseases,” he said, noting that since they typically don't lead to death, they are “neglected but they’re not rare,” with many people suffering not just from “a single disease, they have multiple diseases at the same time.

Hotez is President of Sabin Vaccine Institute and Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. He also serves as the U.S. Science Envoy.

Founded in 1993, the institute is nonprofit that focuses on medical research to reduce the impact of vaccine-preventable and neglected tropical diseases. Scientists, researchers and advocates are all part of the team seeking to end needless suffering through these ailments.

Joined by hundreds of others, Hotez was in Rome for a Nov. 10-12 conference organized by the Pontifical Council for Healthcare Workers titled “For a culture of welcoming and supportive health at the service of people with rare and neglected diseases.”

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