Latin America continues to suffer from the fact that an exorbitant number of people—nearly 50 million—live in a state of extreme poverty (with an income of less than one dollar a day). Beyond numbers and averages, the lives and hopes of each of these individual men, women, and children are what keep us awake at night in their appeal for us to make ever greater efforts to improve their health and quality of life.
The majority of these people live in conditions favoring a greater burden of disease, many of which are neglected for a variety of reasons. Usually, these neglected diseases affect uncared-for populations and vulnerable groups such as indigenous populations, rural inhabitants, the elderly, women living in poverty, and children. This situation needs to be changed for the better.
This PAHO study contains epidemiological profiles on the major neglected diseases affecting the Americas, using data from the countries. By providing disaggregated data and maps of areas within the countries, it puts forth the unfinished agenda for certain diseases that should no longer exist as a public health problem in the Region—as well as how these diseases overlap in specific areas where greater efforts and integrated actions could be targeted. With this work, we hope to contribute to achieving cost-effective actions focused specifically on the most vulnerable populations and groups and directed in a concrete way at fighting diseases related to poverty that, albeit continuing to cause great damage and enormous harm in terms of human suffering, as well as a huge financial burden, are euphemistically categorized under the heading of ‘forgotten’ or ‘neglected.