NTD Update: Sabin’s Global Network 2014 Report

The Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases, an initiative of the Sabin Vaccine Initiative, released a report this month which details methods used by different countries to combat neglected tropical diseases that affect more than one billion of the world’s poorest people.

The report, Ending Neglected Tropical Diseases: Opportunities to Support the Control and Elimination of NTDs, calls for countries to join the efforts in eliminating NTDs (neglected tropical diseases) and recognize the impact they have on global economic growth, poverty and inequality reduction, education achievement, and nutrition. They also see to institutionalize NTD control and elimination efforts in foreign policy, development and poverty reduction agendas and finally, to invest in and prioritize nationally-led integrated NTD plans by providing political support, reliable long-term financing and technical assistance.

Highlighted are the efforts in Burundi, India and Mexico to eliminate some of the 17 diseases identified as NTDs, including schistosomiasis, onchocerciasis, intestinal works, trachoma, leishmaniasis and Chagas disease.

While 700 million people received treatment for one or more NTDs in 2012, less than 40 percent of the 1.4 billion people in need of treatment worldwide received all the drugs they needed. The discussion highlighted the importance and need for expanding treatment programs to reach those left behind, along with new investments for improved tools (diagnostics, drugs and vaccines) for NTDs.

Meet Timothy, Community Health Worker

Meet Timothy, Community Health Worker: Front-line health workers like Timothy help get deworming medicine to hard-to-reach communities like the Burangi Village in Kenya. Timothy says he has gained the trust of his community, and he enjoys the opportunity to improve the health of his village (Credit: Mo Scarpelli).

Meet Timothy, Community Health Worker

Meet Timothy, Community Health Worker: Front-line health workers like Timothy help get deworming medicine to hard-to-reach communities like the Burangi Village in Kenya. Timothy says he has gained the trust of his community, and he enjoys the opportunity to improve the health of his village (Credit: Mo Scarpelli).

Meet Timothy, Community Health Worker

Meet Timothy, Community Health Worker: Front-line health workers like Timothy help get deworming medicine to hard-to-reach communities like the Burangi Village in Kenya. Timothy says he has gained the trust of his community, and he enjoys the opportunity to improve the health of his village (Credit: Mo Scarpelli).

Meet Timothy, Community Health Worker

Meet Timothy, Community Health Worker: Front-line health workers like Timothy help get deworming medicine to hard-to-reach communities like the Burangi Village in Kenya. Timothy says he has gained the trust of his community, and he enjoys the opportunity to improve the health of his village (Credit: Mo Scarpelli).

The report coincided with the FDA initiative to stimulate the development of therapies for NTDs. The need for the push stems from the less profitable markets for the treatments. In 2007, US legislators passed the Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act (FDAAA), which established a new and powerful incentive to help spur tropical drug development. Under the new incentives, companies that receive approval for a tropical disease treatment are eligible to receive a transferable voucher that allows the bearer to receive six month priority review status for any future product.

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The Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases (Global Network) today released a report, “Ending Neglected Tropical Diseases: Opportunities to Support the Control and Elimination of NTDs” that offers an analysis of the progress made, challenges remaining and new opportunities in the global effort to control and eliminate neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) by 2020.

This report stems from the Global Network’s Development Agency Roundtable held in Berlin, Germany last year, hosted together with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the World Bank Group. Participants included government officials, pharmaceutical and academic representatives, and NGO partners, gathering from around the world with a special focus on expanding NTD cross-sector integration and identifying new financing channels that could help close the U.S. $220 million annual funding gap. Notably, Dr. Luis Sambo, regional director of the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Africa, delivered a powerful message on the importance of African governments and development partners to expand their investments in NTD control and elimination.

“All sectors have a unique role to play in defeating NTDs. The Development Agency Roundtable positively indicated that the different development partners are committed to working together to sustainably improve the health of the most vulnerable populations,” said Dr. Neeraj Mistry, managing director of the Global Network. “Even with the exciting progress made over the past two years since the landmark London Declaration on NTDs, we must scale up efforts and take new, bold actions against NTDs.”

The report calls for countries worldwide to:

  • Recognize the impact of NTDs as a key underlying constraint to global economic growth, poverty and inequality reduction, educational achievement and nutrition.
  • Institutionalize NTD control and elimination efforts in foreign policy, development and poverty reduction agendas.
  • Invest in and prioritize nationally-led integrated NTD plans by providing political support, reliable long-term financing and technical assistance.
  • Promote the fight against NTDs in international and regional forums and support the inclusion of NTD-specific goals and targets in the post-2015 development agenda.

Since the Development Agency Roundtable, a number of noteworthy developments have occurred:

  • In January 2014, the U.S. increased its NTD funding to $100 million for fiscal year (FY) 2014, representing the largest increase in U.S. funding for NTDs since FY 2010.
  • In April 2014, original and new London Declaration partners met in Paris to assess progress and pledge an additional $240 million to NTDs; a new Uniting to Combat NTDs report captures this exciting momentum.
  • In April 2014, John Kufuor, President of the Republic of Ghana (2001-2009), joined partners from the U.S. government, NGO community and private sector to discuss opportunities to increase access to improved WASH and better integrate WASH and NTD programs.
  • In June 2014, the UN’s Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals released its zero draft of the Proposed Goals and Targets on Sustainable Development for the Post-2015 Development Agenda, which explicitly includes NTDs alongside other communicable diseases targeted for elimination.
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The Michelson Medical Research Foundation is a proud supporter of the SABIN Vaccine Institute, the Michelson Neglected Disease Vaccine Initiative and the Michelson Fund for NTDs Global Awareness thanks to the generous support of Dr. Gary K. Michelson and his wife, Alya Michelson.

The Michelson Medical Research Foundation is a proud supporter of the SABIN Vaccine Institute, the Michelson Neglected Disease Vaccine Initiative and the Michelson Fund for NTDs Global Awareness thanks to the generous support of Dr. Gary K. Michelson and his wife, Alya Michelson.

The Michelson Medical Research Foundation is a proud supporter of the SABIN Vaccine Institute, the Michelson Neglected Disease Vaccine Initiative and the Michelson Fund for NTDs Global Awareness thanks to the generous support of Dr. Gary K. Michelson and his wife, Alya Michelson.

The Michelson Medical Research Foundation is a proud supporter of the SABIN Vaccine Institute, the Michelson Neglected Disease Vaccine Initiative and the Michelson Fund for NTDs Global Awareness thanks to the generous support of Dr. Gary K. Michelson and his wife, Alya Michelson.