The poorest people are not only poor. They are also chronically sick, making it harder for them to escape poverty. A new global initiative may break the vicious cycle:
A group of seven tropical diseases, mostly caused by parasitic worms, afflict a billion impoverished people worldwide. They seldom kill directly but cause lifelong misery that stunts children’s growth, leaves adults unable to function to their fullest, and heightens the risk of other diseases.
Fortunately, they can be easily treated, often with a single pill. Various agencies and foundations are collaborating to deliver these drugs, although they have reached only about 10 percent of the population so far.
The U.S. has its own neglected parasitic diseases that affect millions of rural and urban poor.