Productivity loss related to neglected tropical diseases eligible for preventive chemotherapy: A systematic literature review.
BACKGROUND: Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) not only cause health and life expectancy loss, but can also lead to economic consequences including reduced ability to work. This article describes a systematic literature review of the effect on the economic productivity of individuals affected by one of the five worldwide most prevalent NTDs: lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis, schistosomiasis, soil-transmitted helminths (ascariasis, trichuriasis, and hookworm infection) and trachoma. These diseases are eligible to preventive chemotherapy (PCT).
METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Eleven bibliographic databases were searched using different names of all NTDs and various keywords relating to productivity. Additional references were identified through reference lists from relevant papers. Of the 5316 unique publications found in the database searches, thirteen papers were identified for lymphatic filariasis, ten for onchocerciasis, eleven for schistosomiasis, six for soil-transmitted helminths and three for trachoma. Besides the scarcity in publications reporting the degree of productivity loss, this review revealed large variation in the estimated productivity loss related to these NTDs.
CONCLUSIONS: It is clear that productivity is affected by NTDs, although the actual impact depends on the type and severity of the NTD as well as on the context where the disease occurs. The largest impact on productivity loss of individuals affected by one of these diseases seems to be due to blindness from onchocerciasis and severe schistosomiasis manifestations; productivity loss due to trachoma-related blindness has never been studied directly. However, productivity loss at an individual level might differ from productivity loss at a population level because of differences in the prevalence of NTDs. Variation in estimated productivity loss between and within diseases is caused by differences in research methods and setting. Publications should provide enough information to enable readers to assess the quality and relevance of the study for their purposes.