Health metrics based on health-adjusted life years have become standard units for comparing the disease burden and treatment benefits of individual health conditions. The Disability-Adjusted Life Year (DALY) and the Quality-Adjusted Life Year (QALY) are the most frequently used in cost-effect analyses in national and global health policy discussions for allocation of health care resources. While sometimes useful, both the DALY and QALY metrics have limitations in their ability to capture the full health impact of helminth infections and other 'neglected tropical diseases' (NTDs). Gaps in current knowledge of disease burden are identified, and interim approaches to disease burden assessment are discussed.
Keywords: Burden of illness; Cost of illness; Disability; Helminthiasis; Quality of life; Schistosomiasis.
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