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:

  • Support policymakers in their efforts to include NTDs in their development agendas and dedicate resources toward NTD control and elimination.
  • Support current NTD donors in maintaining and increasing their commitments to achieve the World Health Organization’s Roadmap goals.
  • Identify and engage with new NTD donors by highlighting the links between NTDs and other development priorities.
  • Encourage 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


U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit: The Global Network delivered letters to the heads of state of select African countries – signed by NTD Special Envoy, H. E. John Kufuor, President of the Republic of Ghana (2001-2009), and Ambassador Michael Marine, CEO of the Sabin Vaccine Institute – calling for discussions on NTDs during Summit sessions highlighting health and development. Please see a statement by the Global Network on the importance of addressing NTDs during the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit here, including a quote by President Kufuor (8/4/14).

New NTD Advocacy Report: The Global Network published a new report on the progress made, challenges remaining and new opportunities in the global effort to control and eliminate NTDs by 2020 (7/15/14). 


Image by Flickr user Patrick Gruban