The mapping of interactions between the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) should guide efforts to leave no one behind (see M. Nilsson et al. Nature 534, 320–322; 2016).
Take neglected tropical diseases (NTDs; go.nature.com/29te2hu) and the SDG target to end epidemics by 2030. Doing so will have a positive interaction with all SDGs, including those directed at poverty, hunger, education, work, growth and inequality (C. Fitzpatrick and D. Engels Intl Health 8 (S1), i15–i18; 2016). The example set by the largest-ever ongoing donation of medicines from drug firms (see go.nature.com/2ag1gnf) will help to realize the public–private partnership goal for health.
Community-led distribution of those medicines to more than 1 billion at-risk people is reinforcing other goals, such as women's empowerment, logistics infrastructure and non-discrimination against disability. Curbing mosquito-borne NTDs contributes to the goals of urban sustainability and resilience to climate change. Safe use of insecticides supports the goal of sustainable ecosystems. Controlling water- and animal-related NTDs is facilitating the goals of small-scale fishing and sustainable hydroelectricity and biofuels.
The World Health Organization is monitoring some of the most important positive interactions. For example, we are using NTDs to highlight inequalities, to target investment and to track progress towards universal access to water, sanitation and hygiene (see go.nature.com/29tpeph).
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Fitzpatrick, C., Bangert, M. & Engels, D. diseases that neglect no goals. Nature 535, 493 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1038/535493c
The cross-cutting contribution of the end of neglected tropical diseases to the sustainable development goals
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