EMND11004 Neglected Tropical Diseases

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EMND11004 Neglected Tropical Diseases

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EMND11004 Neglected Tropical Diseases

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Course Code: EMND11004
University: The University Of Edinburgh

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Country: United Kingdom


Research neglected diseases, the challenges encountered in researching and developing new medicines for these diseases.
Describe the markets that are involved and the incentives that are used to encourage the development of medications. Include a discussion of the non-market based solutions.
Discuss the current debates and controversies encountered by the global health community. Make recommendations that could be applied by the Ministry of Health.


According to Grabowski, DiMasi, & Long, (2015) the main reason why the research neglected diseases still exist and continue to threaten many lives is because of certain economic and social co morbidities in the environment that enables the pathogens to continue thriving.  The presence of social inequalities at the local and community level influences health and also contributes to the existence of these diseases due to disadvantaged people. The fact that part of the population has these diseases makes it hard to really eradicate these diseases. Changes in climate and environment has also triggered mutation of the disease causing organisms therefore making it hard for these diseases to be controlled by available disease causing organisms. This increases the vulnerability of infection and also makes it hard to control these diseases.
The tools and techniques for the research needed are found in social sciences. It is important to understand that health promotion, communication and enlightenment are the simple and necessary tools to inculcate the pillars of science theory. Social science theory is then essential in studying epidemiology and etiology of these diseases and other measures aimed at improving public health.
The research neglected diseases call for the attention of the firms involved in the research and identification of medicines for these diseases as they continue to affect a majority of the world’s population. Therefore, unless these diseases are treated as a health hazard of concern, it would be difficult to achieve anything in terms of controlling these diseases. 
Neglected diseases
There are various research neglected diseases in several parts of the world. Some of these diseases among others include; dengue fever, lymphatic filariasis, trachoma, chagas disease, human African trypanosomiasis, leprosy, schistosomiasis, onchocerciasis and leishmaniasis most of these diseases are classified as research neglected since they affect some of the world’s poorest populations and they don’t receive quite enough concern from the world’s major research institutes as compared to other diseases. The research neglected diseases are also largely found in most countries of the developing world where there are other several challenges such as high infant mortality, malnutrition, poor sanitation and other challenges that are among the major contributors to these infectious diseases.
Research and development challenges
The fact that most of these diseases are found in very disadvantaged places have often inconvenienced the research on these diseases since the developed world usually address these diseases in milleneum development goals and aids through institutions such as the UN. These diseases have also developed some resistance due to poor methods of treatment and control and therefore it requires even more efforts and resources to control these diseases which is not likely to be realized without first developing interest into this inquiry (Shrivastava, Shrivastava, & Ramasamy, 2016).
According to Ekins, & Wood, (2016) the main challenges facing research of these diseases and development of medicines includes contextual constraints which range from inaccessibility of most places, poor social amenities, shortages in resources and health personnel and political challenges in some developing countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America. However, according to the World Health Organization. Epidemic, & Pandemic Alert. (2009) these challenges ought not to be seen as hindering research since the governments and international actors should take responsibility of eradicating these infections for good.
Market incentives
The markets involved in the research and development of research neglected diseases mainly includes the drug manufacturing industries, traditional based industries and other cottage industries locally located to address concerns specific to only a certain locality. With this it is important to point out that some of the cures to these illnesses were discovered accidentally as people were trying to come up with different drugs. We can’t therefore forget the research institutes and distributors of these drugs.
Some of the market incentives provided by governments of major countries include the duty free importations, exemption from VAT and other forms of tax on distributors. Finally another incentive includes cost subsidy and insurance programs meant to benefit the financially disadvantaged people who find it hard to afford these drugs explains Hotez, et al (2014).
Non-market based solutions
According to Whitley, (2015) there is inefficiency in the available medicines that can effectively treat these diseases. The question of affordability is also relevant in this quest. Despite the fact that science and technology can be credited for providing many of the necessary medicines, not all medicines have been found. This therefore calls for action into non market based solutions. Apart from the medicines, other ways of fighting this diseases may be advocating for a good lifestyle that eliminates the risk factors of these infections and reduces the co morbidities of these infections. It would also be necessary to use traditional ways of dealing with these diseases by consulting indigenous community health workers since most of these diseases have been in existence since time immemorial.
Current discussions
Ongoing debates have often focused on the role of good hygiene and sanitation to help improve the conditions of people living in the impoverished countries and reduce the co morbidities of infection. However, hygiene and sanitation cannot give all the answers to these diseases. Researchers have therefore started focusing on genetics and how they can eradicate or prevent the spread of these diseases by either developing immunity or by destroying completely the vectors of these diseases (Lim, Melse, Konings, Duong, Eadie, Laleu, & van de Sande, 2018).
Recommendations to ministry of health
The ministry of health should pool together funds to assist people and firms that have low purchasing power to be able to receive medication on these diseases. The drugs regulatory agencies should also consider accommodating cheaper drugs in order to solve the overall problem of insufficient funding in the struggle to fight these life threatening conditions. Donation of medicines by pharmaceutical industry (Hotez, Alvarado, Basáñez, Bolliger, Bourne, Boussinesq, & Carabin, (2014).
The ministry of health also needs to re organize priorities in order to prioritize fighting these diseases and allocate funds respectively in areas such as fighting of these diseases. The ministry of health also need to push for policies and formulation of laws through the government that will help protect the citizenly through harmful hazards.the ministry of health also needs to conduct research so that they can be in a position to address the real needs of the society and not the perceived needs of such a society through rational use of available resources.
In conclusion, the fight of elimination and eradication of the research neglected diseases needs to adopt firm measures that will be directly focusing on the use of non-market solutions , market incentives and existing debates to find solutions for the research neglected diseases. The measures also need to make use of all stakeholders in the society to ensure a disease free environment.
Ekins, S., & Wood, J. (2016). Incentives for starting small companies focused on rare and neglected diseases. Pharmaceutical research, 33(4), 809-815.
Grabowski, H. G., DiMasi, J. A., & Long, G. (2015). The roles of patents and research and development incentives in biopharmaceutical innovation. Health Affairs, 34(2), 302-310.
Hartge, P. (2017). Kenneth Warren and the Great Neglected Diseases of Mankind Programme: The Transformation of Geographical Medicine in the US and Beyond: By Conrad Keating.
Hotez, P. J., Alvarado, M., Basáñez, M. G., Bolliger, I., Bourne, R., Boussinesq, M., … & Carabin, H. (2014). The global burden of disease study 2010: interpretation and implications for the neglected tropical diseases. PLoS neglected tropical diseases, 8(7), e2865.
Lim, W., Melse, Y., Konings, M., Duong, H. P., Eadie, K., Laleu, B., … & van de Sande, W. W. (2018). Addressing the most neglected diseases through an open research model: The discovery of fenarimols as novel drug candidates for eumycetoma. PLoS neglected tropical diseases, 12(4), e0006437.
Shrivastava, S. R., Shrivastava, P. S., & Ramasamy, J. (2016). Dearth in research and development of health products for responding to neglected diseases: An urgent public health need. Annals of Tropical Medicine and Public Health, 9(5), 366.
Whitley, R. (2015). Global mental health: concepts, conflicts and controversies. Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences, 24(4), 285-291.
World Health Organization, Special Programme for Research, Training in Tropical Diseases, World Health Organization. Department of Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases, World Health Organization. Epidemic, & Pandemic Alert. (2009). Dengue: guidelines for diagnosis, treatment, prevention and control. World Health Organization.

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