Pivotal Moment in Effort to Eliminate Neglected Tropical Diseases by 2020

 

The Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases celebrates coordinated effort to improve
the health of the world’s poorest people

 

WASHINGTON, D.C.—January 30, 2012—The Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases, a major initiative of the Sabin Vaccine Institute, applauds today’s announcement of unprecedented collaboration to fight neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). Leaders from 13 pharmaceutical companies, governments of the United States, United Kingdom and United Arab Emirates, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Bank and other global health organizations gathered at the London Declaration on NTDs meeting to announce their support for eliminating 10 NTDs by 2020.

Commitments made at today’s event signify a turning point in global efforts to control and eliminate lymphatic filariasis, trachoma, infections caused by three soil-transmitted helminths, schistosomiasis and onchocerciasis, the seven NTDs that have been targeted by the Global Network and its partners for elimination by the end of this decade. These diseases infect nearly one in six people worldwide, including half a billion children. They cause blindness, massive swelling in appendages and limbs, severe malnutrition and anemia. NTDs are a key source of poverty by reducing school attendance among children and worker productivity for adults.

Earlier this month, the Global Network launched a major campaign called END7 to increase public awareness about these seven parasitic and bacterial infections, which account for 90 percent of the NTD burden. The campaign gives the general public the opportunity to become part of the London Declaration’s commitment to eliminate these diseases in the world’s poorest communities. Using social media, END7 also provides an advocacy platform for NGOs, governments and pharmaceutical companies to share their efforts to control and eliminate NTDs with the general public. 

“Today’s announcement is a major step forward in global efforts to eliminate NTDs,” said Dr. Neeraj Mistry, Managing Director for the Global Network. “The London Declaration signals an evolution in how the world is fighting these devastating diseases, doing so as a community of partners, rather than as disparate groups. And with the END7 campaign, we are providing a critical link between the global health community and the general public, encouraging them to work together to raise awareness about NTDs in a way that we have not seen in the past.”

The U.S. and U.K. governments, as well as major pharmaceutical companies and global health NGOs, have made significant contributions to NTD elimination since the 1970s, but today’s announcement marks the first time a cohesive and integrated program has been announced to meet the World Health Organization’s (WHO) goal of elimination by 2020.

“We’re happy that today the global health community has united in support of NTD control and elimination, ensuring that new and existing commitments will be leveraged to achieve success,” said Alan Fenwick, Director of Schistosomiasis Control Initiative (SCI). “As a founding partner of the Global Network, we are proud of the accomplishments that have been made to elevate NTDs to the higher level of priority they deserve on the global health agenda. The END7 campaign symbolizes the efforts by the global NTD community to meet the commitments identified at the London Declaration.”

END7 is a campaign of the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases, a public/private partnership that seeks to catalyze grassroots, political and philanthropic support for NTD control efforts to increase funding for this important global health issue.

In addition to the Sabin Vaccine Institute, the Global Network’s founding partners include the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, the Earth Institute—Columbia University, Helen Keller International, International Trachoma Initiative, Schistosomiasis Control Initiative and the Task Force for Global Health. The Global Network also works with global partners such as the WHO and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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About NTDs
NTDs are a group of 17 parasitic and bacterial infections that are the most common afflictions of the world's poorest people. The Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases focuses on the seven most common NTDs that account for 90 percent of the disease burden--elephantiasis, river blindness, snail fever, trachoma, hookworm, whipworm and roundworm. They blind, disable and disfigure their victims, trapping them in a cycle of poverty and disease. Research shows that treating NTDs lifts millions out of poverty by ensuring that children stay in school to learn and prosper; by strengthening worker productivity; and by improving maternal and child health.

 About Sabin Vaccine Institute 

Sabin Vaccine Institute is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization of scientists, researchers, and advocates dedicated to reducing needless human suffering caused by vaccine preventable and neglected tropical diseases. Sabin works with governments, leading public and private organizations, and academic institutions to provide solutions for some of the world's most pervasive health challenges. Since its founding in 1993 in honor of the oral polio vaccine developer, Dr. Albert B. Sabin, the Institute has been at the forefront of efforts to control, treat, and eliminate these diseases by developing new vaccines, advocating the use of existing vaccines, and promoting increased access to affordable medical treatments. For more information please visit www.sabin.org.