Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are a diverse group of 17 diseases that collectively affect over a billion people. These diseases are grouped together because they afflict the world’s most poor and vulnerable.
NTDs contribute to the cycle of poverty because they leave people unable to attend school, work and limit participation in family or community life. Until recently, these 17 diseases were not a public health priority because those most affected by NTDs often live in remote areas, without status or a strong political voice.
Fighting NTDs requires collaboration, and coordinated efforts. In the last five years, there has been a strong movement to alleviate the tragedy of these diseases that affect so many lives. The R2STOP initiative aims to contribute to the achievement of elimination and control targets set by the World Health Organisation, and commitments made in the 2012 London Declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases. By answering unknown questions about the mechanisms of NTDs transmission, we hope to prevent many people from becoming infected by some of these diseases.
There are two NTDs for which transmission is not yet understood at all, leprosy and Buruli ulcer. There are others for which intractable questions remain about the details of transmission.
While the initial focus of the research agenda is the transmission of M.leprae, the bacteria that causes leprosy, R2STOP aims to award grants for research investigating questions of transmission of other neglected tropical diseases in the future.