Applauding the signing of the so-called “London Declaration on NTDs” by a consortium of public and private partners last week, Ned Breslin, CEO of Water For People, writes in this Huffington Post “Impact” opinion piece, “I am saddened by the emphasis on vaccines and medicines as the seemingly only vehicles to eradicate NTDs by London Declaration signatories. And I wonder where water, sanitation and hygiene are in this mix, as by all accounts it is not anywhere to be seen in the NTD eradication initiative.”
Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs)
“To tackle neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), we need a far more collaborative and flexible approach,” Mark Booth, acting deputy director of Durham University’s Wolfson Research Institute and head of the N8 Parasitology Group, writes in this New Statesman opinion piece. Booth references the publication of new malaria mortality estimates in the Lancet and the signing of the so-called “London Declaration on NTDs” by a consortium of public and private partners last week and writes, “Malaria is not classified as an NTD because relatively large amounts of attention and funding have been pitted against the parasite. But if we now have to rethink malaria control strategies, then how confident can we be about controlling or eradicating any of the 17 NTDs identified by the World Health Organization?”
Economic Transformation In Latin America An Opportunity To Improve NTD Strategies, DNDi Regional Director Says
“The rise of emerging economies in Latin America is an opportunity to improve strategies for fighting neglected illnesses and increase the region’s contribution to the global struggle against them, says” Eric Stobbaerts, the Latin America director of the independent Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi), Inter Press Service reports. “Our region is going through a major transformation in economic and social terms,” Stobbaerts told IPS after a meeting on “Uniting to Combat Neglected Tropical Diseases” (NTDs) held in London on January 30, “mentioning the progress that has been made in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile and Mexico,” IPS writes.
Following the announcement on Monday that 13 pharmaceutical companies, several large non-profit organizations, governments, and U.N. agencies are joining forces to fight neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), Al Jazeera’s “Inside Story” interviewed several experts in the field, asking, “Why have these diseases been neglected for so long? And how effective will the new plans be to counter these diseases and, in turn, alleviate poverty? Is the target date of 2020 set by the initiative realistic to wipe out some of the world’s deadliest conditions? And what is in it for them?” according to the show’s summary. Host James Bays discusses these and other issues with guests Tido Von Schoen-Angerer, director of the Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) Access Campaign; Lorenzo Savioli, director of the Department of Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases at the WHO; and Mario Ottiglio, associate director of Global Health Policy and Public Affairs at the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (2/1).
This post in KPLU 88.5’s “Humanosphere” blog examines how former President Jimmy Carter gave the fight against neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) “a good first shove nearly 30 years ago,” writing, “Neglected diseases like river blindness, Guinea worm, parasitic (lymphatic) elephantiasis and schistosomiasis have been in Carter’s cross hairs since the mid-1980s.” The blog adds, “Few would argue that it has been primarily the work of the Carter Center, carrying on the work of the CDC and others, that has brought the horrible parasitic disease Guinea worm so close to eradication today — from millions of cases in the 1980s down to a little more than a 1,000 last year.” The blog also discusses how William Foege, a former CDC official who is responsible for the smallpox vaccination strategy that helped wipe out the disease, was instrumental in bringing Carter and the Gates family into global health (Paulson, 2/1).
In her “Global Health Blog,” Guardian health editor Sarah Boseley speaks with GlaxoSmithKline CEO Andrew Witty about the year-long efforts to bring together the heads of more than a dozen pharmaceutical companies in a large public-private initiative to control or eliminate neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). “In terms of what should this industry be doing preferentially, it should be making available the drugs which nobody else has for people in these countries who suffer from these diseases … and we should be committing ourselves to discover more, better drugs for the future, and we’re doing that today and we’re collaborating with others to make it happen quicker,” Witty said (1/31).
Pharmaceutical company heads and global health leaders gathered at a conference on Monday in London to announce the formation of a large public-private partnership to fight neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) and endorse the “London Declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases” (.pdf), in which they pledged to work together and track progress. The following is a summary of two opinion pieces and a blog post in response to the news.
Thirteen pharmaceutical companies; the governments of the U.S., U.K. and United Arab Emirates; the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; the WHO; the World Bank; the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi); and other global health organizations “announced a new, coordinated push to accelerate progress toward eliminating or controlling 10 neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) by the end of the decade,” according to a press release (.pdf) from Global Health Strategies. “In the largest coordinated effort to date to combat NTDs,” the partners will provide 14 billion doses of medications by the end of the decade and share expertise and products to speed research and development of new drugs, the press release notes.
When sanitation systems are available and used, the odds of contracting one of a group of diseases, known as soil-transmitted helminths (STH), is cut in half, according to a systemic review and meta-analysis published this week in PLoS Medicine, Examiner.com reports (Herriman, 1/25). “One billion of the world’s people experience a diminished ability to work, learn, and thrive as a result of infection by these parasites — roundworm, whipworm, and hookworm. The resulting losses in quality of life and productivity can trap people in a cycle of poverty and stigma and diminish their ability to care for themselves and their families,” the PLoS “Speaking of Medicine” blog writes.
“The U.K. government has announced a fivefold increase in spending on combating neglected tropical diseases [NTDs] as part of an international effort to help rid the world of a group of infectious diseases that currently affect one billion people and kill more than half a million every year,” BMJ reports (Moszynski, 1/23). “International Development Minister Stephen O’Brien said funding for [NTDs] is to increase from Â£50 million to Â£245 million [approximately $381.5 million] between 2011 and 2015 as part of a global push to eradicate diseases including river blindness and elephantiasis,” the Press Association writes.