Engaging Religious Leaders In NTD Control, Elimination Efforts Could Help Reduce Poverty

PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases: The World’s Great Religions and Their Neglected Tropical Diseases
Peter J. Hotez, co-editor in chief of PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases

“New information based on data released by the World Health Organization (WHO) indicates that practically everyone infected with a major neglected tropical disease (NTD) lives in a Christian-, Muslim-, or Hindu-majority nation. The finding has implications for engaging religious leaders in NTD control and elimination activities. … Linking NTDs to religion has potential importance because it invites prominent international religious leaders to have a greater role in advocating for and supporting NTD control. … At the local level, religious leaders in churches, mosques, and temples could have important roles in raising awareness about NTDs and their health impact and could even promote indigenous control and elimination efforts. Finally, there remains the interfaith opportunity to bring these three great religions together in order to cooperate on reducing the global burden of NTDs. NTD control and elimination represents one of the most effective and cost-efficient means to reduce poverty and relieve global suffering” (7/28).