The good news about neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) is that many are treatable with existing drugs. Certain treatments are easy to administer and do not require health professionals. The bad news is that, while drug treatments are available for many NTDs, they don’t often reach the people most in need.
Several governmental and non-governmental organizations work to help strengthen health infrastructure and deliver drugs in regions afflicted by NTDs. For example, the World Health Organization Division of Control of Neglected Tropical Disease helps organize funding and relief efforts in these areas. Some drug companies also donate medications to help treat NTDs.
As with tuberculosis and malaria, drug resistance is becoming an issue with NTDs. For example, praziquantel has been used since the 1980s to treat the neglected parasitic worm disease schistosomiasis. Public health officials fear that the worms are evolving resistance to the drug and have underscored the need for further research and development of new and improved treatments for the disease.