We have the tools available to defeat the most common neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), and we can do it in our lifetime. Unlike many other global health problems we face today, the solution is relatively simple. For just 50 cents, we can provide a person with treatment against the most common NTDs for an entire year.
This innovative approach must serve as a model for solving other global development challenges and will help millions of people build self-sufficiency and overcome the need for aid.
— Bill Gates in the London Declaration Press Release
Treatment through Mass Drug Administration
The Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases supports an integrated treatment approach, sometimes known as a rapid-impact package, in which people are treated for soil-transmitted helminths and four other NTDs through a combination of up to four drugs. This approach is inexpensive, cost effective and safe. It can be easily implemented and helps streamline NTD control efforts.
Administration of the medicines is done through mass drug administration (MDA) that reaches entire at-risk communities in order to treat, control and eliminate these diseases. Because people at risk of NTD infection do not need to be diagnosed by a health care worker, teachers or community volunteers can carry out the MDA themselves. MDA can also be carried out in rural areas without health clinics or hospitals. MDA need to be conducted annually until an area is free of the disease. Armed with four drugs donated by pharmaceutical companies, major treatment efforts can control or eliminate the most common NTDs over time.
Pharmaceutical Industry Partnerships
The high level of commitment received from many international partners is a major strength in the fight against NTDs. In recent decades, the pharmaceutical industry has achieved an impressive track record of partnering with non-governmental organizations on large-scale treatment campaigns for diseases of poverty, pledging to donate some $16.7 billion in drugs through 2020. More than $8.8 billion worth of donated medicines have already been distributed through USAID’s NTD Program alone.
The pill donations represent the largest drug donations in history, and pharmaceutical companies have continued to increase their commitments.
This long-term commitment to NTD control and elimination by the pharmaceutical industry has reduced programmatic costs so that pills can be distributed annually for less than 50 cents per person, a best buy in public health.
Around the world, public-private partners work with local governments, schools, healthcare systems and organizations to deliver medicines to those suffering from NTDs. Some of the most effective delivery solutions come through community-led efforts, particularly community health workers.
Sustainability is critical in the ongoing fight against NTDs, so endemic countries must be invested in their NTD programs.
A Better Future for Burundi
See how volunteers, health care workers, NGO partners and the government of Myanmar came together to treat more than one million children for NTDs.