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AFRICA: Equal attention demanded for "neglected" diseases

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

JOHANNESBURG, 11 October (PLUSNEWS) - Three leading medical specialists warned on Monday that HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria are diverting resources from other easily treated diseases that have a greater impact on healthcare and economic development in Africa.

In a paper published in the online health journal, PLoS Medicine, the experts called for the launch of a "small cost, huge impact" public health programme in sub-Saharan Africa, where diseases such as river blindness and elephantiasis are also common.

The UK's Financial Times quoted Prof Alan Fenwick, of the Imperial College, London, as saying, "We are not saying, 'give less to [AIDS, TB and malaria]', but 'let's have a better balance'."

Fenwick stressed that treatment of some of the "neglected" diseases, which affect more than 750 million people and kill at least 500,000 every year, would also help reduce the risks of contracting malaria and TB.



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