Alongside the COVID-19 pandemic, numerous countries continue to battle neglected tropical diseases, which adversely burden impoverished and resource-poor communities. Cutaneous leishmaniasis, a stigmatizing skin disease, is difficult to treat under normal circumstances, let alone when a pandemic suddenly disrupts nearly every aspect of daily life.
Natalie Wodniak reports on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on cutaneous leishmaniasis in Pakistan, where Médicins sans Frontières is the only non-governmental organization to treat the parasitic disease. From closed treatment centers to stalled clinical trials, experts describe the heartbreaking impacts both they and their patients have experienced due to COVID-19.
As the pandemic continues, the future of neglected tropical disease control is uncertain. In this project, Wodniak highlights the need for a renewed focus on neglected diseases and sheds light on the real-world impacts the past year has had on non-COVID research.