Thematic file

Partnerships at the heart of the fight against neglected tropical diseases

Lest we forget: a large-scale awareness-raising strategy

These infectious diseases found in hot, humid climates affect a billion people around the world, but they have long been neglected by researchers and funders. In recent years, however, the international community has been mobilizing to fight against these disorders that prevent the world’s deprived populations from escaping from poverty due to their terrible consequences. For Professor Alice Dautry, this unprecedented effort has already led to significant progress.

Alice Dautry, Directrice Générale de l’Institut Pasteur, membre du Conseil d’Administration de la Fondation Sanofi Espoir

Interview of Alice Dautry

Managing Director of the Institut Pasteur, member of the Sanofi Espoir Foundation board of Directors.

« Rich countries have realized that the world in which we live will never reach an equitable balance if one out of every six people continues to be severely affected by avoidable diseases. »

The Foundation is participating in the fight against neglected tropical diseases

To fight against health inequalities and support development assistance, the Sanofi Espoir Foundation is supporting the fight against neglected tropical diseases:

Leishmaniasis in Brazil and Venezuela
This complex disfiguring, disabling, and potentially fatal disease kills 1.6 million new victims every year.


Buruli ulcer in Togo, Benin and Cameroon
This condition necrotizes the skin and tissues causing large ulcers, and mostly affects children, particularly in Central Africa.


Chagas disease in Paraguay
Chagas disease is endemic in the region of Gran Chaco and eliminating its carrier is a major challenge.


Major Neglected Tropical Diseases

The WHO is currently focusing on 17 neglected tropical diseases, but this list is not exhaustive:

  • Dengue
  • Rabies
  • Trachoma
  • Buruli ulcer
  • Endemic treponematosis (yaws)
  • Leprosy
  • Chagas disease (American trypanosomiasis)
  • Human African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness)
  • Leishmaniasis
  • Cysticercosis
  • Dracunculosis(Guinea worm)
  • Echinococcosis (hydatid disease)
  • Foodborne trematode infections
  • Lymphatic filariasis (elephantiasis)
  • Onchocerciasis (river blindness)
  • Schistosomiasis (bilharzia)
  • Soil-transmitted helminthiasis (soil transmitted helminths)

Most of these are parasitic diseases caused by protozoa or helminths. Some are transmitted by the host animals or by carriers such as mosquitoes. Still others are transmitted by contaminated water or soil contaminated with parasite eggs or larvae.

Neglected tropical diseases tend to overlap

  • The WHO estimates that neglected tropical diseases are endemic in 149 countries and territories facing at least one neglected tropical disease.
  • Very often, these diseases are concentrated in one geographic area and even overlap, so that individuals suffer simultaneously from several parasitic infections.
  • All low-income countries without exception are affected simultaneously by at least five neglected tropical diseases.

Women and children are the most vulnerable

Women, children, ethnic minorities, and those living in isolated areas with limited access to services are the most exposed to the risk of infection.