Integration of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) into the public health agenda has been a priority in global health for the last decade. Because a number of these diseases share not only the geographical distribution, but also a common feature which is skin involvement, bringing together a sub-group of ‘skin NTDs’ is one way forward to promote further integration among NTDs. With these diseases, which include leprosy, Buruli ulcer, yaws, mycetoma, lymphatic filariasis, and leishmaniasis, patients may be left with life-long deformities and disabilities when diagnosis and treatment are delayed. Stigma is another serious consequence of skin NTDs as it places a large barrier on the economic activities and social life of a patient. As a result, this creates a vicious cycle and obstructs a key goal of society, the elimination of poverty. Enhancement in surveillance systems as well as the further development of diagnostic methods, improvement in treatment and management, and identification of preventative measures for skin NTDs are therefore urgently needed. This article summarizes the existing practices and field research on skin NTDs and identifies potential synergies that could be achieved by adopting this integrated approach.
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