Sabin President Dr. Peter Hotez wrote an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times this past weekend. The editorial focuses on the effects of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) on women. Female genital schistosomiasis, for example, affects as many as 50 million African women causing painful ulcers, social stigma, and puts infected individuals at higher risk for contracting HIV/AIDS during sex. This disease is completely preventable through one-time annual drug administration of praziquantel. For individuals who are already infected, treatment for schistosomiasis is easily feasible and cost-effective, costing less than 1% of what we now pay for daily antiviral therapy through the United States Presidents Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.
The editorial also talks about hookworm and how it can cause low birth weight, stunting in children, and blood loss amongst pregnant women. The burden caused by these NTDs and others will hopefully be alleviated by the Global Strategy for Womens and Children’s Health, a framework to reduce health-related mortality among women and children over the next four years.
Click here to read the op-ed in its entirety.