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Children bear brunt of tropical diseases

By Graham Kajilwa - Jan 31st 2020

More than half of the 1.7 billion people affected by neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) globally are children, a global body has said.

Joy Ruwodo, Public Affairs advisor for End Fund, which funds treatment of NTDs, called for concerted efforts by governments to give proper care to those affected. Ms Ruwodo said Kenya has made a commitment to eliminate NTDs by 2030.

“In Western countries, the diseases were eliminated over a century ago,” she said. NTDs are caused by factors like poor sanitation. They mainly affect the poor. Today marks the first World NTD Day.

Schistosomisiasis (snail fever), is the most prevalent NTD in Kenya. Clinical trials for a new drug by Merck Pharmaceuticals and Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) is ongoing in Kenya.

The World Health Organisation has listed up to 20 NTDs; including buruli ulcer, dengue, chikungunya virus, leprosy, snake bites, trachoma and scabies.

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