The Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases works to raise the profile of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) among policymakers in the U.S. and around the world. Together with its NTD Special Envoys, the Global Network team:

  • Supports policymakers in their efforts to include NTDs in their development agendas and dedicate resources toward NTD control and elimination.
  • Supports current NTD donors in maintaining and increasing their commitments to achieve the World Health Organization’s Roadmap goals.
  • Identifies and engage with new NTD donors by highlighting the links between NTDs and other development priorities.
  • Encourages endemic country government to invest in NTD control and elimination efforts within their national health and development strategies.

NTD Special Envoys

As former heads of state and the immediate past director of the Pan American Health Organization, the Global Network’s NTD Special Envoys provide the political voice and the technical expertise needed to reach the World Health Organization’s (WHO) goals to control and eliminate the most common NTDs by 2020. The NTD Special Envoys travel around the globe to advocate for donor governments to incorporate NTD control and elimination efforts into existing development programs, encourage endemic country governments to prioritize the development and implementation of national NTD plans, and work with key G8 and G20 countries to increase their support for NTD control and elimination through expanded technical assistance and increased investments.

President Alvaro Arzú Irigoyen of Guatemala (19962000)

His Excellency Alvaro Arzú Irigoyen is currently the mayor of Guatemala City and served as president of Guatemala from 1996–2000. While serving as President of Guatemala, he promoted multicultural rights, peace, and international cooperation, and helped Guatemala take the first steps toward recovery from its decades-long civil war.

President John A. Kufuor of Ghana (20012009)

His Excellency John A. Kufuor served as the President of Ghana from 2001–2009. Under his leadership, Ghana became the first sub-Saharan African country to cut in half the proportion of its people who suffer from hunger as well as the proportion of people living on less than a dollar per day, making significant strides towards the achievement of UN Millennium Development Goals. President Kufuor also currently serves as a UN World Food Programme Global Ambassador Against Hunger, UN Special Envoy on Climate Change, and Chair of Sanitation and Water for All (SWA).

President Ricardo Lagos Escobar of Chile (20002006)

His Excellency Ricardo Lagos is a lawyer and an economist who served as President of Chile from 2000–2006. As president, he established the AUGE health program, which guaranteed health coverage for a number of medical conditions, and legalized divorce. Since 2007, President Lagos has served as a special envoy for climate change for the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. He also teaches political and economic development at Brown University.

Dr. Mirta Roses Periago, director of the Pan American Health Organization (2003–2013)

Dr. Mirta Roses Periago received her medical degree from the National University of Córdoba in 1969, obtaining a diploma in public health with a specialization in epidemiology and a certificate of specialization in infectious diseases from the University of Buenos Aires. She joined the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) in 1984 and retired as regional director of PAHO in January 2013 after serving in that position for 10 years. Dr. Roses has shown unwavering commitment to achieving equity in the delivery of health care and has championed the cause of marginalized populations. 

Recent Policy Highlights

Global Network submits testimony to the Norwegian Parliament’s Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence: In follow up to Dr. Neeraj Mistry’s briefing with members of the Norwegian Parliament’s Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence in May 2014, the Global Network submitted written testimony to the Standing Committee as it begins discussions on international aid and global health spending allocations in Norway’s 2015 National Budget. Neeraj’s testimony recounts global progress on NTDs and opportunities for the Norwegian government to make an impact (10/22/14).

Global Network Releases Policy Brief on NTDs and Nutrition: The Global Network releasedToward a Healthy Future: Working Together to End Neglected Tropical Diseases and Malnutrition, a policy brief which explores the relationship between NTDs and malnutrition and the actions needed to address both. The document reflects the views and expertise of a wide range of experts from the NTD, nutrition and broader development communities and serves as a resource to policymakers, advocates and program implementers (10/21/14).

Global Network briefs the State Department on Opportunities for NTD Engagement: In mid-October, the Global Network’s Managing Director, Dr. Neeraj Mistry, briefed the State Department’s Office of Global Health Diplomacy on the global NTD response and opportunities for the Office to advance global NTD efforts. The Global Network looks forward to increased collaboration on NTDs with the Office of Global Health Diplomacy, as its staff strives to achieve its mandate of strengthening sustainable health programs, promoting shared responsibility and supporting U.S. Embassies abroad (10/15/14).  


Image by Flickr user Patrick Gruban