Rio conference highlights neglected diseases

Gathering in Brazil seeks to raise awareness and ensure increased funding for diseases affecting a billion people.

by

    Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - About a billion people worldwide suffer from neglected diseases which receive little attention - or funding to cure or treat them.

    Latin America, where 34 percent of people live in poverty, is particularly affected.

    A group of doctors and patients met this week at a global conference in Rio de Janeiro to try to change the situation.

    "I had this for 26 years, waiting for a drug that works," Moacir Zini, a leishmaniasis patient, told Al Jazeera.

    "People haven't faced what I have: discrimination. When I go out for lunch, a coffee or an ice-cream with my kids, people would look at me. I don't want people to go through what I did."

    Only 4 percent of new drugs and vaccines manufactured from the year 2000 to 2010 were for neglected diseases, one of which is Chagas, a disease that can lead to heart failure.

    Almost eight million people, mainly in Latin America, are infected by Chagas, according to the World Health Organization.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    'We scoured for days without sleeping, just clothes on our backs'

    'We scoured for days without sleeping, just clothes on our backs'

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Daughters of al-Shabab

    Daughters of al-Shabab

    What draws Kenyan women to join al-Shabab and what challenges are they facing when they return to their communities?