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Commitment, Teamwork Needed To Control, Eliminate NTDs By 2020

The focus of the Uniting to Combat Neglected Tropical Diseases: Translating the London Declaration into Action conference, which took place November 16-18 in Washington, D.C., was “how we can work together to put the right systems in place and implement the change needed” to control or eliminate neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) by 2020, Simon Bush, director of NTDs at Sightsavers, writes in the Huffington Post U.K.’s “Impact” blog. Sponsored by the World Bank and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the conference brought together pharmaceutical company executives, non-governmental organization (NGO) representatives, academics, government officials, and representatives of the World Bank, WHO and other groups, Bush says.

He notes that a group of NGOs, including Sightsavers, “has committed to partnering to tackle NTDs together,” and he describes three areas of commitment: “Firstly, we’ve committed to establishing exactly where the at-risk populations are throughout the world, so that we can ensure no communities are neglected in the fight against NTDs”; “Secondly, the NGOs have committed to getting much better at integrating water, sanitation and hygiene (often known as WASH) programs into our work to tackle NTDs”; and, “Thirdly, we’re determined to scale up the distribution of treatment for NTDs, so that more people can be given the help they urgently need.” Bush concludes, “Through teamwork and determination, we really can radically change the lives of millions of the world’s most vulnerable people and eliminate these diseases for good” (11/15).