Neglected Tropical Diseases and Equity in the Post-2015 Health Agenda
The Millennium Development Goals’ focus on just three infectious diseases (HIV/AIDS, malaria, and belatedly, tuberculosis) configured the global health funding landscape for 15 years. neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), a group of 17 or so diseases that disproportionately afflict the world’s ‘bottom billion’, are a symbol of global health inequities, in terms of prioritisation, research attention, and treatment. This article traces efforts to include NTDs in the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) agenda and, having achieved that goal, lobby for an influential position in the post-2015 aid agenda. The SDGs herald a shift to a more expansive approach and there is a risk that NTDs will once again be left behind, lost in a panoply of new goals and targets. There is, however, an opportunity for NTDs to lever their ‘neglect’ and be recast as a tool of accountability, acting as both a target for and proxy indicator of health equity for the SDGs.