Corneal Ulcers: a Neglected Tropical Disease!

So far we have had only trachoma, onchocerciasis and leprosy that were named “neglected tropical diseases” and related to ophthalmology. However, in July 2019 the WHO had suggested also infectious corneal ulcers to be named “neglected”. Why is that important? Because of the measures, that could be universally introduced to fight the disease (see “SAFE” strategy for trachoma, ivermectin distribution for onchocerciasis etc.). Looking also at the cases presented here in the Gallery one may guess that corneal ulcers are frequent in Tropics. And that is definitely true.

Infectious corneal ulceration: a proposal for neglected tropical disease status

Bulletin of the World Health Organization 2019;97:854-856. doi:

In ophthalmology, the designation of trachoma, onchocerciasis and leprosy as neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) has sustained efforts to combat these blinding conditions worldwide. Over the past 50 years, NTD designations have enabled the joining of political, social and economic forces to promote research and interventions for diseases that overwhelmingly affect the 3 billion people who subsist on less than 2 United States dollars (US$) a day. The global public health landscape is still dominated by focus on human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), tuberculosis and malaria. However, NTDs are now increasingly recognized as important causes of morbidity and mortality in low-income settings, perpetuating stigma and social isolation, with many NTDs leading to disfiguring complications. In international public health diplomacy, formal disease recognition is essential. The pursuit of this recognition drives proposals from World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) Member States to include additional diseases in the list of NTDs. The intention is to strengthen the development of partnerships, epidemiological frameworks and commitment of resources to achieve the aims set by the sustainable development goals.