The Connection between Climate Change, Surgical Care and Neglected Tropical Diseases

Ann Glob Health. 2022 Aug 8;88(1):68. doi: 10.5334/aogh.3766. eCollection 2022.


The surgical burden of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) is set to rise alongside average temperatures and drought. NTDs with surgical indications, including trachoma and lymphatic filariasis, predominantly affect people in low- and middle-income countries where the gravest effects of climate change are likely to be felt. Vectors sensitive to temperature and rainfall will likely expand their reach to previously nonendemic regions, while drought may exacerbate NTD burden in already resource-strained settings. Current NTD mitigation strategies, including mass drug administrations, were interrupted by COVID-19, demonstrating the vulnerability of NTD progress to global events. Without NTD programming that meshes with surgical systems strengthening, climate change may outpace current strategies to reduce the burden of these diseases.

Keywords: burden of disease; lymphatic filariasis; surgery; trachoma.

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • Climate Change
  • Elephantiasis, Filarial* / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Neglected Diseases / epidemiology
  • Tropical Medicine*