Neglected tropical diseases affect the millions of the world's most vulnerable people. These are patients who can't afford expensive treatments and that's why the pharmaceutical industry has not wanted to invest in research and development (R&D) for them. At the turn of the century, R&D for medicines, diagnostics, and vaccines to fight neglected diseases was at a virtual standstill. From 1975 to 1999, only 1.1% of the new drugs introduced globally were for tropical diseases.
In an effort to reverse this fatal neglect, Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) and its partners co-founded the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi). Its goal is to improve and help develop drugs for diseases including malaria, sleeping sickness, kala azar, and Chagas.
Ten years later in Fatal Neglect: The Global Health Revolution’s Forgotten Patients , VII photographers Seamus Murphy, Venetia Dearden, Ron Haviv, and John Stanmeyer document the still devastating impact of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis , the three deadliest neglected tropical diseases -- visceral leishmaniasis (kala azar), Human African Trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), and Chagas -- andvaccine-preventable diseases .
While there have been important advances in medicine to fight these disease, these VII photojournalists found that people all over the planet continue to die from preventable causes - due in large part to the failure of government leadership and the international headlth R&D system. It's time to stop the fatal neglect.
The award-winning photojournalists traveled to Mali, Paraguay, South Sudan, and Tajikistan to capture the stories of frontline health workers trying to fight diseases that affect millions of people and kill hundreds of thousands each year yet garner little attention from drug developers, policy makers, or the mass media.