The following is a statement from Dr. Peter Hotez, President, Sabin Vaccine Institute on the release of the Obama Administration’s FY11 Budget:
For far too long, devastating, debilitating and often deadly neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) impacting more than 1.4 billion people of the world’s poorest people have been ignored. If President Obama’s proposed FY11 budget is adopted, NTDs will no longer be neglected.
The Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases, an advocacy initiative of the Sabin Vaccine Institute, applauds the Obama Administration for taking the global lead in working to control and eliminate NTDs. Seven of the most common NTDs, representing 90% of the global NTD burden, can be treated for approximately 50 cents per person, per year.
An investment in fighting NTDs is truly a best buy in public health. It is also an investment that cuts across the global health spectrum. For example, combining the treatment of NTDs and malaria is simple, effective and highly affordable. Annually, an estimated loss of 100 million disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) can be averted through cost saving measures that target malaria, NTDs, and other infections simultaneously. Moreover, new data shows that providing mass drug administration (MDA) of praziquantel, at a cost of 32 cents per child, to school-aged children to prevent female genital schistosomiasis could also reduce and possibly interrupt HIV/AIDS transmission throughout many rural areas of sub-Saharan Africa.
NTDs trap more than 1.4 billion people living on less than $1.25 a day in an endless cycle of poverty. Research has shown that eliminating the burden of NTDs could help end this cycle and lift millions out of poverty by:
- Ensuring children stay in school to learn and prosper. NTDs infect over 600 million school-aged children throughout the developing world. Treating their infections is the single most cost-effective way to boost school attendance. Controlling intestinal worms alone will help to avoid 16 million cases of mental retardation and 200 million years of lost primary schooling
- Strengthening worker productivity. Global NTD control can contribute hundreds of billions of dollars to developing economies through increased worker productivity. Controlling just one disease–chronic hookworm –would improve future wage earnings by an extraordinary 43%. In Kenya, deworming could raise per capita earning by 30%. And in India, controlling lymphatic filariasis would add $1.5 billion to the country’s GNP.
- Improving maternal and child health. Treating NTDs greatly reduces adverse pregnancy outcomes and cuts the prevalence of anemia and malnutrition, which cause 35% of the global disease burden in children under five. For less than a 10% add-on cost, combining NTD treatment with current malaria control efforts significantly reduces anemia-caused morbidity and mortality.
About the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases
The Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases, a major initiative of the Sabin Vaccine Institute, is committed to raising the profile of neglected tropical diseases and leveraging international resources to end suffering and death through effective, low-cost treatments. See www.globalnetwork.org for more details.
About Sabin Vaccine Institute
Sabin Vaccine Institute is a non-profit organization dedicated to reducing human suffering from infectious and neglected diseases. Through its efforts in vaccine research, development and advocacy, Sabin works to provide greater access to vaccines and essential medicines for millions stuck in pain, poverty and despair. Founded in 1993 in honor of Dr. Albert B. Sabin, discoverer of the oral polio vaccine, the Sabin Vaccine Institute works with prestigious institutions, scientists, medical professionals, and organizations to provide short and long-term solutions that result in healthier individuals, families and communities around the globe. For more information about Sabin’s research and commitment, visit: www.sabin.org.