World optimistic of combating 10 neglected tropical diseases by 2020

The world through public and private partnership is hopeful that by the end of 2020, ten neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) would be eliminated or controlled.

The partners – 13 pharmaceutical companies, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Bank and other global health organizations as well as three national governments – the US, UK and UAE – today January 30, 2012 at the Royal College of Physicians in the UK announced a new, coordinated push to accelerate progress towards eliminating or controlling these tropical diseases.

They have pledged to provide more than $785 million to support research and development (R&D) efforts and strengthen drug distribution and implementation programmes.

“With a unique mix of actors we demonstrated the feasibility and cost effectiveness of scaling up integrated NTD programmes to the national level.  It is now clear that with proper support, integrated NTD control programmes, following World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines, can be implemented, relieving the terrible burden of these diseases for millions of people around the world,” said the partners in a statement issued by the US Embassy in Accra.

The NTDs are diseases that many people have never heard of, with hard-to-pronounce names like schistosomiasis, lymphatic filariasis and onchocerciasis.

The statement said these diseases affect more than one billion people and lead to $10 billion each year in lost productivity and treatment costs.

By Ekow Quandzie

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