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Examining The Definition Of Neglected Diseases

“[T]here’s no generally accepted definition” for what characterizes a neglected disease, Kaitlin Christenson, coalition director for the Global Health Technologies Coalition (GHTC), writes in the Results for Development Institute’s “Center for Global Health R&D Policy Assessment” blog. “[W]e at the [GHTC] tend to think of ‘neglected’ in terms of the urgent need for tools to prevent, diagnose, treat, and generally improve the health of people in low- and middle-income countries around the world,” she writes, adding, therefore, “we need to adapt the way we think about neglected health needs worldwide to reflect conditions — like pregnancy and reproductive health needs — that impact people worldwide, in addition to infectious diseases.” She continues, “Perhaps instead of framing our thinking around neglected diseases, we should instead consider a different term: neglected conditions,” concluding, “By changing our definition of neglected diseases to include neglected conditions, the U.S. government and other governments, donors, and advocates can make an even greater impact on health worldwide” (12/3).

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