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Open Access Opinion

Health systems perspectives – infectious diseases of poverty

Dale Huntington

Author Affiliations

Asia Pacific Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, WHO/WPRO, Manila, Philippines

Infectious Diseases of Poverty 2012, 1:12  doi:10.1186/2049-9957-1-12

Published: 1 November 2012

Abstract

The right to health as a fundamental human right is enshrined in the World Health Organization’s charter and has been reaffirmed in international agreements spanning decades. This new journal reminds us of the essential characteristic of poverty as a violent abuse of human rights. The context of poverty – its social, political and economic dimensions – remain in the reader’s mind as evidence is provided on technical solutions to managing the infectious diseases that afflict poor populations world-wide. Applying a health systems framework to a discussion on infectious diseases of poverty emerges from the papers in this journal’s first edition. Many of the articles discuss treatments, indicating the importance of pharmaceuticals for neglected diseases. Delivery strategies to reach impoverished populations also figure within this first round of papers. Innovative programs that provide diagnostics and treatment for infectious diseases to hard-to-reach rural and urban communities are needed clearly needed, and some good examples are discussed here. Future editions will explore other health system components, broadening the evidence base to increase understanding of effective and sustainable interventions to reduce the burden of infectious disease among the poor. The editors are to be congratulated on the release of this inaugural issue of the journal Infectious Diseases of Poverty. We look forward to reading subsequent editions.