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Neglected Tropical Diseases

Creating a New Disease Grouping

Samantha Vanderslott

Abstract

Neglected tropical diseases show how a disease group can be formed to compete in the global health policy marketplace. The naming and branding of a new disease category is used to organize activities, direct attention and resources, and rationalize the governance of diseases. The politics of classification involves processes of negotiation and conceptual development by key actors. Here, discussions about central characteristics, naming, and inclusion and exclusion criteria are rarely settled. Contradictions are present in the “tropical” and “neglected” characterizations, as well as choices of universalist rather than particularist approaches. Interacting with these considerations is a continued progression in means of dealing with disease from health actors and changing attributes of diseases in populations.