COVID‐19 and neglected tropical diseases among refugees: Plight of a vulnerable population in Africa
Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are widespread in tropical and subtropical climates and caused by bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses. These infections have devastating physical, social, and economic impacts worldwide, especially in underveloped communities. Migrant populations, such as refugees who may carry diseases or are exposed to them for the first time, face poverty, famine, and bad living conditions. The pandemic’s twofold burden and long-term impact on NTDs among African refugees are highlighted in this article. Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for roughly 90% of the disease burden due to poverty and some NTDs’ special propensity to thrive in its climates. After a disruption, such as displacement due to war, infectious disease transmission will rise until it reaches pre-intervention levels if treatments are not started. COVID-19 threatens NTD control and elimination efforts, which are now directly affected by it. Due to high population density, social isolation is difficult in most African refugee camps. In such circumstances, poor sanitation and lack of access to water make hand hygiene practically impossible. Over the past few decades, refugees and their settlements and camps have faced socioeconomic and health challenges. In order for vulnerable populations, like the refugees, not to be left behind, they should not be forgotten and countries should prepare for the revival of community-based engagement.