Neglected Tropical Diseases

Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) are a group of infectious diseases that lead to severe health problems, such as anemia, blindness, chronic pain, infertility, and disfigurement.1

They affect millions every year — predominantly in tropical regions such as Africa, Asia, and South and Central America. Many of their victims become trapped in poverty, as they are unable to work and face severe social stigma and challenges in daily life.2

Much can be done to reduce this health burden: many NTDs can be controlled with cheap existing interventions or new technologies developed through research. But today, these diseases still receive insufficient funding, research and development, and global attention.3

The success of some initiatives shows us how much is possible with deliberate effort. These include the near-eradication of Guinea worm disease and the elimination of river blindness, lymphatic filariasis, and trachoma in many countries.

This page compiles global data and research on the world’s current understanding of neglected tropical diseases: their impact, trends over time, interventions, and efforts to control them.

Research & Writing

Interactive Charts on Neglected Tropical Diseases


  1. Hotez, P. J., Aksoy, S., Brindley, P. J., & Kamhawi, S. (2020). What constitutes a neglected tropical disease? PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 14(1), e0008001.

  2. Molyneux, D. H., Asamoa-Bah, A., Fenwick, A., Savioli, L., & Hotez, P. (2021). The history of the neglected tropical disease movement. Transactions of The Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 115(2), 169–175.

  3. Policy Cures Research. (2024). The Impact of Global Health R&D: The high return of investing in R&D for neglected diseases. Available online.

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Saloni Dattani, Fiona Spooner and Max Roser (2024) - “Neglected Tropical Diseases” Published online at Retrieved from: '' [Online Resource]

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    author = {Saloni Dattani and Fiona Spooner and Max Roser},
    title = {Neglected Tropical Diseases},
    journal = {Our World in Data},
    year = {2024},
    note = {}
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