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Three Steps To Eliminating NTDs

In a post on the PLoS “Speaking of Medicine” blog, PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) editor-in-chief Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine and president of the Sabin Vaccine Institute and Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development, reviews progress being made toward the elimination of NTDs through mass drug administration and other efforts. He reports on measures undertaken to help Togo “become the first sub-Saharan African country to eliminate lymphatic filariasis,” and says three things must happen to continue to help countries eliminate NTDs: first, countries other than the U.S. and U.K. must “step-up and provide support”; second, “[w]e need both [the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria] and PEPFAR to prioritize NTDs as an essential component of their activities and to address people living with HIV/AIDS who are co-infected with parasites”; and third, “[w]e will need an expansion of public support for R&D on new drugs, diagnostics, and vaccines.” Hotez adds, “Finally we will continue to require a strong and empowered WHO together with its regional offices to help in the coordination of these important activities. We will also need to maintain a strong program of independent advocacy, which will work with the G20 countries and continue to heighten awareness on the NTDs as the most common infections of humankind” (4/23).