Photograph by Monique Jaques
Maria has come to the Leprosy and TB Rehab Center in Ganta, a border town in Northeast Liberia. She suffers from Buruli ulcer, a neglected tropical disease that eats away at her skin and bones.
Neglected tropical diseases – also known as diseases of poverty – predominantly impact the world’s poorest and most marginalized people. Buruli ulcer and other neglected tropical diseases are usually not fatal, but can lead to permanent disability and disfigurement. People living with these diseases encounter stigma and discrimination throughout their lives. Often, they are banished from their homes and not offered employment, which only casts them further into poverty.
There is no vaccine available to fight Buruli ulcer. Since the disease affects the world’s poorest people, private sector companies have not had an incentive to develop innovations to end the disease.