Neglected tropical diseases killing thousands globally put 6 million at risk in war-torn Yemen

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DUBAI: Amid a conflict that has divided the nation and – according to the UN – the worst humanitarian crisis since World War II, Yemen’s population of 27 million is also dealing with diseases that cause early deaths.

Aside from cholera, Yemen is affected by numerous neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) – an epidemic that is affecting 1.5 billion people worldwide and killing around 170,000 per year.

“NTDs are a diverse group of communicable diseases that prevail in tropical and subtropical conditions in 149 countries – affect more than one billion people and cost developing economies billions of dollars every year,” Associate Director of External Relations of END Fund, Yayne Hailu told Arab News.

The five most common NTDs are intestinal worms, schistosomiasis, trachoma, lymphatic filariasis and river blindness.

Intestinal worms cause infection which give the patient diarrhea with blood and mucus in the stool. Schistosomiasis cause abdominal pain, diarrhea, bloody stool, or blood in the urine. Trachoma causes a roughening of the inner surface of the eyelids. Lymphatic filariasis affects body’s fluid balance and fights infections. While river blindness causes severe itching, bumps under the skin, and blindness.

Populations living in poverty, without adequate sanitation and in close contact with infectious vectors and domestic animals and livestock are those worst affected.

Yemen one of the highest levels of NTDs across the Middle East, according to the END Fund, a private philanthropic initiative by Dubai-based private investment group The Legatum Group that is solely dedicated to ending the five most common NTDs owned

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