The process of building the priority of neglected tropical diseases a global policy analysis

L Suzanne SUGGS

Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) affect vulnerable populations living mostly in tropical and subtropical settings, and disproportionately affect women and children. Historically, the priority given to NTDs in global health policies has been lower than that of HIV, malaria and TB, but in recent years it has increased. To understand the processes that helped raise the positioning of NTDs in global policies, this study used a framework by Shiffman and Smith that assembles determinants of political priority under four categories: actor power, ideas, political contexts, and issue characteristics. A total of 37 global policy documents, 15 WHA resolutions, 38 academic publications, and findings from 12 semi-structured interviews with individuals representing different sectors within the NTD community, were analyzed using a policy framework proposed by Shiffman and Smith. This study found that elements that helped increase the priority of NTDs in global policies included the presence of leaders, institutions and guiding documents to mobilize the community, the creation of the NTD label, and the way the burden and solutions were presented. To continue raising the profile of NTDs at the global level, the study presents suggestions that are in line with UHC and SDG targets.