NTDs have been neglected for various reasons:
- Many NTDs are partially asymptomatic or have long incubation periods, so the connection between a death and a neglected tropical disease may not be realized by patients and health workers.
- Areas of high endemicity are often in geographically isolated areas, making access to treatment and prevention much more difficult.
- Disease control is impeded by the stigma to which patients are subject in their communities which decreases help-seeking and treatment adherence.
- The poverty of patients prevents profitable distribution of medicines and in consequence hinders investments in development of innovative treatments. Fortunately, the attitude of major pharmaceutical companies has changed since the beginning of the 20th century. Most of the medicines needed for the aid programs are donated or sold at cost price. Furthermore new clinical studies are being supported or even financed to improve existing medicines and develop special formulations for children and vaccines or to research for innovative therapies.
- In developed countries, lack of knowledge in the healthcare system and limited conclusive diagnostic tests perpetuate the neglect of this group of diseases.